Best King Mackerel Lures: Top 7 Tested & Reviewed

Kenneth ReavesEdited by: Kenneth Reaves
Michael DarmontReviewed by: Michael Darmont

Last Update:

The Rundown

Best Overall: Blue Water Candy (click to see)
“The Blue Water Candy has a consistent setup that doesn’t require a faster-trolling boat, making it ideal for anglers of all skill levels. It also has a tooth-proof wire leader material.”

Best Premium Option: Yo-Zuri Bonita (click to see)
“The Yo-Zuri Bonita is a dependable high-speed trolling lure with a patented design that effectively attracts kingfish. Every angler should consider including it in a trolling spread.”

Best Budget Option: L.B. Huntington Eco Lure Spoon (click to see)
“The Eco Lure features a stainless steel spoon and corrosion-resistant nickel rings that won’t rust in the saltwater you’re fishing in. A recommended trolling option for anglers on a budget.”

King mackerel is one of the most sought-after offshore game fish in the Southeast. They put up a great fight, taste great, and even have region-wide tournaments dedicated to catching the biggest kings anglers can find. Whether you’re a professional tournament angler or a recreational angler,  you need to know which lures will work best if you want the biggest chance for success on your king mackerel fishing. 

You typically will want to mimic the king’s favorite foods with your lure. They’re a fast-swimming pelagic fish, so you need high-speed lures that can hang around in the top 25 feet of the water column. You also want a lure you can combine with either live bait or a big piece of cut bait to get the best effectiveness out of them. 

There are tons of lures on the market promising bites from kingfish, but not all of them produce as well as others. So we’ve done the research and put together this list so you can stock up on the best and most successful lures out there to catch king mackerel.

Sources researched
8
Sources researched
Customer reviews
16,852
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
15
Hours spent testing
Products tested
7
Products tested

What Lures Are Best For Mackerel?

Our Top 7 Picks

Best overall

Blue Water Candy 40035 King Rig Tourn Skirted with Featherwrights, 5-Pack

Blue Water Candy

Best King Mackerel Lure for Most Anglers

Extra attraction coming from teaser skirt

Tooth-proof wire leader material

Best Premium Option

Yo-Zuri R1158-COB Bonita Trolling Sinking Lure, Orange/Black, 210mm 8-1/4'

Yo-Zuri Bonita

Best Premium King Mackerel Lure

Can be trolled with or without a lead weight

Most durable high-speed trolling lure

Best Budget Option

L.B. Huntington Eco Lure Spoon, Silver/Silver Flash Scale, 3.5-Inch

L.B. Huntington Eco Lure Spoon

Best Budget King Mackerel Lure

Mimics the silvery flash of kings’ natural prey

Made to handle the teeth of a kingfish

Most Well-Rounded Lure

Rapala Countdown Magnum 14 Fishing lure (Silver, Size- 5.5)

Rapala CountDown Magnum

Most Well-Rounded King Mackerel Lure

Runs between 9-25 feet down

Seven coats of paint keep it looking new after strikes

Best Diving Lure

Nomad Design DTX Minnow Floating Lure

Nomad Design DTX Minnow

Best Diving King Mackerel Lure

Self-correcting attachment point to keep it swimming straight

Maximum depth between 4.5 and 8 knots

Best Skirt

C&H, King Buster Lure, Style KB, HotPink/White/GoldBlueFleck Skirt, 1/8 oz (3.5 g) Head, 2.5 in (6.35 cm), 3 pc

C&H King Buster

Best Skirt for King Mackerel Lure

Great teaser to add action to your baits

Chrome-plated brass head for weight and corrosion-resistance

Best for Casting

Halco MAX130#H57 Max 130 Lipless

Halco Max 130

Best King Mackerel Lure for Casting

Sinking plug that mimics baitfish

Good body shape for high-speed trolling

star
star
star
star
star

Best Lures For King Mackerel Fishing

Here’s our shortlist of the best king mackerel lures:

  1. Blue Water Candy
  2. Yo-Zuri Bonita
  3. L.B. Huntington Eco Lure Spoon
  4. Rapala CountDown Magnum
  5. Nomad Design DTX Minnow
  6. C&H King Buster
  7. Halco Max

Blue Water Candy

Best Overall: It has a tooth-proof wire leader that can stand up to hard strikes from the kingfish

Blue Water Candy 40035 King Rig Tourn Skirted with Featherwrights, 5-Pack

KEY FEATURES

  • Extra attraction coming from teaser skirt
  • Tooth-proof wire leader material
  • Dual trebles to snag kings on strikes

Kings love live bait, and this Blue Water Candy is one of the best ways to rig up a pilchard, cigar minnow, or ballyhoo. It’s also a consistent setup that doesn’t require a faster-trolling boat, making it an excellent choice for anglers of all skill levels and boat types.

CLICK TO SEE MORE

Lure Details

The skirt on the lure not only makes your bait look bigger, but it will shine and dance thanks to the swimming and struggling of your bait. The two trebles are great for attaching one near the head and a stinger near the tail of your baitfish, all while still letting it move freely to attract kings.

It has a tooth-proof wire leader that can stand up to hard strikes from big king mackerel. The feathered skirt is also weighted, so you won’t have any trouble getting your bait to the desired depth you want it to sit at. 

Best Ways to Use it

You’ll want to always rig this one up with a live baitfish. Hook the lead treble through the fish right behind the head, and then loosely hook the trailing treble near the base of the tail. This lets the baitfish survive as long as possible while also allowing it plenty of movement freedom.

Fish it around structure and other productive spots. If you can find a feeding school of fish or a good-looking weed line, you can also throw this out and give it a try there.

Yo-Zuri Bonita

Best Premium Option: Most durable high-speed trolling lure

Yo-Zuri R1158-COB Bonita Trolling Sinking Lure, Orange/Black, 210mm 8-1/4'

KEY FEATURES

  • Two-sizes and seven color options
  • Super durable hard bait
  • Can be trolled with or without a lead weight

Aside from finding the fish and dropping live baits, trolling is your next best option for catching big kings. The Yo-Zuri Bonita is one of the most dependable high-speed trolling lures you can find. Its patented design works great on kings, tuna, and wahoo, and it’s one of the best choices to include in a trolling spread. 

CLICK TO SEE MORE

Lure Details

These kingfish lures have a patented power-body design that has a tight swimming action in the water. It can be trolled anywhere from 6-15 knots and is weighted to sit at the top of the water column. The body comes in two different sizes and up to seven different color patterns.

It comes with stainless steel hooks and swivels that will not only not rust but will stand up to the big toothy fish you’re after. Fishing more than one at a time gives the impression of a baitfish school and works excellent for pelagic predators.

Best Ways to Use it

This is a trolling lure, but you’ll want to be at the right speeds. To catch king mackerel, troll between 6 and 8 knots, going over structures like wrecks and reefs that they frequent. If you can find a good weed line, don’t be afraid to make a few passes up and down it to see if any kings are hanging around as well. 

L.B. Huntington Eco Lure Spoon

Best Budget Option: Mimic the flash of a baitfish with a classic trolling spoon made to handle the teeth of kings

L.B. Huntington Eco Lure Spoon, Silver/Silver Flash Scale, 3.5-Inch

KEY FEATURES

  • Easy-to-use
  • A large variety of colors and sizes
  • Mimics the silvery flash of kings’ natural prey

Spoons are a simple lure, but they’re also one of the most effective. This drone spoon from L.B. Huntington is perfect for trolling for kings, especially the silver and gold ones. With quite a few colors to choose from and experiment with, this is a great trolling option for anglers on a budget. 

CLICK TO SEE MORE

Lure Details

The stainless steel construction of the spoon and solid nickel rings are corrosion-resistant and won’t rust in the saltwater environment you’re fishing. In addition, a large flash plate reflects a ton of light on the spoon and helps bring fish up from the bottom. 

Best Ways to Use it

These trolling spoons work best around 6-8 knots with a planer, ideally fishing one near the surface, one at ten feet, and one around 25 feet down. Make sure to use a wire leader, so you don’t get bitten off, and let the flash and shake of the spoon do the work for you, attracting kings. 

Rapala CountDown Magnum Crankbait

Most Well-Rounded Lure: Tough enough to withstand the strikes and can be cast or trolled

Rapala Countdown Magnum 14 Fishing lure (Silver, Size- 5.5)

KEY FEATURES

  • Seven coats of paint keep it looking new after strikes
  • Tank tested to run properly
  • Runs between 9-25 feet down, perfect for kings

The first of the lures on this list that can be both trolled or cast is the Rapala CountDown Magnum. Like the Bonita, it’s incredibly durable and made to stand up to harsh strikes. It’s an overall great trolling lure that also offers you the ability to cast it, making it a well-rounded option for anglers targeting kings.

CLICK TO SEE MORE

Lure Details

The fixed lip lets the lure run between 9 and 25 feet down, right where you want to be for kings. It’s got steel VMC hooks and rings that won’t rust or break in a king’s mouth. The lure body is coated in 7 layers of paint, so if a tooth scrapes off a section, it will still hold its pattern. Additionally, all of their lures are tank-tested to ensure they run at proper depths and with the right action so that you can feel good about the quality of your purchase.

The silver mackerel is generally considered the best option for kings since it most resembles their typical prey species. These kingfish lures come in various patterns for you to choose from, so don’t be afraid to experiment. 

Best Ways to Use it

The best way to use the Countdown is to troll it. The magnums are a little unwieldy when it comes to casting, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it! Don’t expect extremely long casts, but you can whip out a magnum and throw it to a king you’ve spotted feeding near the surface. Ideally, you’ll want to troll a couple of these at a time, passing by underwater structures, weed lines, and even oil rigs to get the most action.

Nomad Design DTX Minnow

Best Diving Lure: Has an Autotune feature, which self-corrects the lure to make sure it swims straight consistently

Nomad Design DTX Minnow Floating Lure

KEY FEATURES

  • Diamond weave internal pattern for structural integrity
  • Self-correcting attachment point to keep it swimming straight
  • Maximum depth between 4.5 and 8 knots

The guys at Nomad really put a ton of work into the DTX Minnow. From adding strength to the lure body to its Autotune attachment points, the lure is perfect for trolling for Mahi, kings, wahoo, and plenty of other pelagics. It’s a great choice for any angler, especially those who want to troll at higher speeds.

CLICK TO SEE MORE

Lure Details

The DTX has a DIamond Weave internal structure that both provides flash and makes the lure almost uncrushable. In addition, it has a recessed forward hook attachment that allows it to be trolled faster without kicking out and comes with an optional attachment for a helper hook. 

The lure has an Autotune feature, which essentially self-corrects the lure to make sure it swims straight consistently. It makes using it as easy as tossing it into the water and taking off. You can choose your size and pattern based on the fish you’re targeting, and to catch king mackerel, the 28-foot diver is your best option.

Best Ways to Use it

One of the best ways to use the DTX minnow is to locate a group of kings on your fishfinder. Once found, you can drop the lure and let it sink below the depth they’re hanging around in, then take off and pull the lure through the group of fish. You’re likely to end up getting at least one of the fish’s attention, and it’ll chase down the DTX and get hooked.

C&H King Buster

Best Skirt: Paired with dead bait, skirts can help get you hooked up with huge kings

C&H, King Buster Lure, Style KB, HotPink/White/GoldBlueFleck Skirt, 1/8 oz (3.5 g) Head, 2.5 in (6.35 cm), 3 pc

KEY FEATURES

  • Great teaser to add action to your baits
  • Chrome-plated brass head for weight and corrosion-resistance
  • Comes in 3-pack for great value

Sometimes dead baits are the way to go for kings, even if they don’t always prefer it. Combining your cut baits or live baits with a teaser is one of the best ways to increase your chances with aquatic species, and King Buster is designed to do just that with kings. It’s an excellent choice for anglers who prefer frozen or cut bait instead of catching live baits or trolling plain lures.  

CLICK TO SEE MORE

Lure Details

The teaser skirt is designed to flare up and cause a ton of movement in the water, whether you’re rolling or letting a live bait squirm. It has a solid brass head for weight, plated with chrome for extra flash and corrosion resistance. 

Best Ways to Use it

The best way to use these kingfish lures is to either use a long strip of Bonita or whole ballyhoo and attach it underneath the skirt. The movement of the skirt and smell of the bait will attract the kings and give you a great bite.

Halco Max 130

Best For Casting: A sinking lure lets you try different depths and retrieval speeds to experiment and discover what gets the most strikes

Halco MAX130#H57 Max 130 Lipless

KEY FEATURES

  • Sinking plug that mimics baitfish
  • Can be trolled between fishing spots
  • Good body shape for high-speed trolling

Most of the lures we’ve discussed work best for live baits or trolling. The Halco Max 130 is one of your best choices in a casting lure for kings. Mimicking a baitfish and weights to sink quickly, the lure lets you cover a lot of water in a short amount of time. It’s a great choice for anglers who aren’t interested in trolling or messing with live baits. 

CLICK TO SEE MORE

Lure Details

The Halco Max is a simple sinking lure shaped like a baitfish. It has a few different colors and sizes to choose from, and the best ones to catch king mackerel will usually be the Baitfish, Hot Sardine, and White Red Head. The dual trolling hooks are ideal for snagging kings on quick strikes, and the rigid body stands up to crushing blows. 

Best Ways to Use it

One of the best places to use these kingfish lures is around oil rigs. Big pelagic species like tuna and kings frequently stop around them, which is the perfect size lure to target them. You can also look for feeding schools of fish and weed lines to cast around.

What To Look For When Buying King Mackerel Lures

Size

Like with most fish, the bigger the bait, the bigger the fish that takes it. So if you’re after trophy kings, then you’ll want to fish bigger lures. Fifteen pounders are plenty of fun, though, so you can go with smaller spoons, lures, and live baits. A good trolling rod will be your best bet for most kinds of these lures, as they’re rated for the lure sizes you’ll be working with.

Durability

Kings are world-renowned for how fiercely they hit baits. It’s cIt’sn for them to break or cut you off as soon as they strike, making it all the more vital that you use a lure that can stand up to that abuse. Buying lures with extra internal structure, better quality materials, and even multiple coats of paint can mean the difference between replacing them early or using them long-term. 

Action and Look

Ideally, you’ll either want to use a lure that resembles prey fish in color or enhances the bait you’re planning to use. Skirts are great to use with live baits since they make it seem bigger and move much more frantically due to the bait struggling. Other lures like spoons flash silver or gold the same way baitfish do in the water, tricking and tempting the kings into a strike. 

Depth

You want to control the depth of your lures easily, and picking the right one can make your life a lot easier. Kings typically spend their time in the top 25 feet of the water, but you can also find bigger ones down to 60 feet. Like fishing for tuna, using planers makes it a lot easier to consistently keep down lures like spoons, weights assist with pulling down live bait rigs, and adjusting your trolling speed lets you keep your trolling lures at depth. Consider how you plan to fish and what is possible for you to help make the best decision on which lures to purchase. 

Questions & Answers

Where is the best place to find king mackerel?

King mackerel range from Texas to the Carolinas. You can usually find them offshore chasing baitfish schools. Look for weed lines that baitfish frequent, and check around structures like wrecks and reefs since kings tend to stop in around those quite often. If you have them in the area, oil rigs are a great place to go and drop a few live baits.

What kind of rigs work best for king mackerel?

Why you’re trolling lures, casting plugs, or dropping baits, you want to use some measure of wire leader. King mackerel has a ton of sharp teeth and will easily cut through most monofilament or fluorocarbon lines giIt’stime. It’s even common for them to cut you off on their strike immediately. This is because they hit hard and fast, making it necessary to use a light drag, so they don’t tear the hook out or break you off when they bite.