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Kingfishing With Field Staffer Matthew Bradshaw

Posted by Field Staffer Matthew Bradshaw on

If you are looking for screaming drags, excitement and sometimes a heartbreak, then you must take the time to jump on a tournament kingfishing boat. Over the last several years, the sport of kingfishing has grown tremendously from North Carolina all the way around to Louisiana. Currently we fish the Southern Kingfish Association Tournament Trail (SKA), which is considered the world’s largest saltwater trail. 99% of all the competitors in the SKA have regular 8-5 jobs, but come together on the weekends to battle the weather and each other to see who can be crowned the champion and collect a very nice payday.

Baits & Tackle

Our team, “Hooked Again” has been very fortunate to be on the guide program for Daiwa Reels. We currently use the Daiwa Saltiga SASD50HA reels paired with custom 7ft live bait rods made by Jeremy Pridgen Fishing. These Saltiga reels are high speed retrieve and will hold a lot of line. 30 pound test monofilament with about 10-15 yards of fluorocarbon seems to do the trick for us. The 7ft live bait rods have a very flexible tip and they will not stress out your live bait as much when slow trolling.

Slow trolling live baits is our preferred method of catching smoker kings. Live blue runners, goggle eyes, mullet and menhaden are our favorite baits. We will also pull a dead ribbonfish. When rigging these baits, it is necessary to use wire, as kingfish have razor sharp teeth and they will bite right thru monofilament and fluorocarbon. We normally tie our rigs with #40 wire with a live bait nose hook and then either one or two stinger treble hooks.

Kingfish are normally found hanging out around ledges, artificial reefs or any other underwater structures that hold baitfish. But in the summertime, you can slow troll right off the beach and find these smoker kings coming in chasing the baitfish. When fishing the beach, keep your eyes out for diving birds. This is a sign that there is a good chance that there is a kingfish chasing the bait to the surface.

“Hooked Again” fishes a 35ft Contender center console with twin 300hp Yamaha four stroke outboards. This boat allows us to fish in almost any sea conditions thrown at us.

We have just recently had the privilege to team up with Heybo. Our team absolutely loves this line of clothing. Heybo apparel is extremely comfortable, lightweight and breathable and it makes for a very enjoyable day on the water. When running in nasty seas and the occasional spray hits us, it doesn’t take long for the Heybo clothing to dry. This is a huge plus for us as no one wants to be wet and cold all day.

“Hooked Again” finished strong in the first Georgia tournament weighing in a 38lb king. This was good enough for a 3rd place finish. We also had a 6th place finish in the last tournament. We are now getting ready for the 2017 National Championship that is being held in Biloxi Mississippi October 24th-29th. If you live close to Biloxi, you owe it to yourself to come out to the Point Cadet Marina located behind the Golden Nugget Casino and see some of these awesome boats and big fish.

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