Kingfish mayhem

  • Cliff Baker and mate Trent Wainwright are pictured with Baker’s 48-pound kingfish caught aboard Capt. Allen Mill’s charter fishing boat, the Wahoo II, on Saturday. SPECIAL
    Cliff Baker and mate Trent Wainwright are pictured with Baker’s 48-pound kingfish caught aboard Capt. Allen Mill’s charter fishing boat, the Wahoo II, on Saturday. SPECIAL

“We were setup for tarpon, shark, redfish and kingfish action at the mouth of the St. Marys inlet when a real smoker struck a live bait rigged with 20-pound fishing tackle.” Capt. Allen Mills said. “We could tell right away that it was a big kingfish, as it made a speedy run away from my Wahoo II charter fishing boat.

“Twenty minutes later, Trent Wainwright was able to land Cliff Baker’s 48-pound kingfish with our boat’s kingfish gaff. It was, by far, one of the largest kingfish we have landed so far this season. We ended up the half-day charter releasing a 120-pound tarpon, bull redfish and one more king mackerel.”

Several other sport fishing boats were also targeting kingfish, tarpon, shark and bull redfish at the mouth of the fishy St. Marys inlet Saturday, which was perfect timing with a powerful front approaching Sunday. It rained heavily the entire day and into Monday.

If the Wahoo II sport fishing boat was entered in last weekend’s St. Augustine Mayhem Kingfish Tournament, it might have taken first-place honors.

Team Lil Devil did weigh in the largest kingfish at 48.5 pounds, taking home the first-place prize of $35,000. The Easy Drinking fishing team came in second with a 42.65-pound kingfish; Scale Bound weighed in a 41.15-pound kingfish for third; Sleigh Ride placed fourth with a 40.55-pound kingfish; and Strike N Out was fifth with a 39.95-pound kingfish. 

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A unique kingfish format will take place this weekend that limits king mackerel fishing waters to the middle of the St. Marys inlet to the south jetty rocks at Ponce Inlet and within three miles offshore. The new kingfish event is called the Old School Kingfish Tournament and will be held Saturday. Fishing teams must catch their own bait during tournament hours.

Fishing teams can also drive to the St. Augustine weigh-in site with their kingfish in their boat or their vehicle. For information, visit or call Paul Dozier at 544-2262.

Kingfish teams competing in the event will have to rely on catching their own baits, as they cannot purchase live baits prior to the event and on the day of the tournament. Teams will have to catch their own kingfish baits while on the water and also in the designated kingfish waters. 

If you plan on fishing the St. Marys inlet, this means you will not be allowed to run to Cumberland Island and cast net menhaden. 

You will not be able to cast net mullet in the nearby rivers; you must secure your kingfish baits in the designated kingfish waters.

More than likely, tournament teams will be tossing their cast nets along the beaches located at the southern portion of Amelia Island when securing live menhaden or mullet.

Teams will also be allowed to troll with spoons for live bluefish and Spanish mackerel or simply bait a small No. 4 hook with a piece of shrimp and catch whiting and croaker, which make for excellent live kingfish baits.

Capt. Kenny Crawford and team Crawfish competed in the recent St. Augustine Kingfish Mayhem Tournament, placing 19th with a 26-pound kingfish.

“We kingfished way south of St. Augustine on a small offshore live bottom,” Crawford said. “We caught plenty of kingfish in the mid-20-pound range. The kings were fired up all day long.”

Team Crawfish missed entering one of the categories, aggregate, which the team would have won hands-down with a five-kingfish weight of more than 90 pounds.

Looks as though Northeast Florida king mackerel fishermen are going to have a banner year of kingfishing, barring any hurricanes or bad weather, which can shut the kingfish migration down without notice.