Head to the Outer Banks for Late Season Kings


Head to the Outer Banks for Late Season Kings

by Ted Lund

If you’re like the thousands of other saltwater anglers that love to target king mackerel, then there is no place better to get your late-season fill than the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

spanish-775057But there are two keys to success. The first, finding bait in the form of live menhaden (pogies or bunker). The second? Knowing where the commercial boats are.

Capt. Dan Rooks runs the Tuna Duck out of Hatteras and has been a waterman his entire life. He specializes in late-season king mackerel and winter-time bluefin tuna.

“The commercial boys know where the fish are,” says Rooks. “If you find them, you’ll find the fish.”

The Outerbanks kings average larger than their late fall cousins in South Florida. Fish of 20 pounds are common and 30- to 40-pounders aren’t uncommon.

Rooks prefers a light, single-strand wire rig to prevent cutoffs, armed with two 3/0 Mustad treble hooks. Conventional outfits with a light tip, armed with 30-pound braid are the norm. Menhaden are nose-hooked, then slow-trolled over submerged reef or structure anywhere from 35 to 90 feet of water.

This is a perfect opportunity for center console fans to get in on the fun, especially during lulls in weather between early season cold fronts. A great choice in a boat? The 280CC Adventure by Tidewater. This is a true bluewater center console fishing machine that can get anglers to the grounds and back in comfort, even when the weather turns snotty — like it does in late fall.

At 28-feet, 4-inches and with a 9-foot, 10-inch beam and 22-degree deadrise, the 280CC will handle just about anything Mother Nature can 280 CC Tidewater Boatsthrow at it. Powered by reliable, four-stroke outboards by Yamaha, the maximum 600-hp gives you the speed to cover distance and get the most out of your fishing day.

Best of all? A pair of 20-gallon livewells gives you all the capacity you need to help fill the 60-gallon fishbox.

Tidewater’s 280CC Adventure is loaded with standard features, and anglers have their choice of seven hull colors (White, Black, Sky Blue, Bimini Blue, Fusion Blue, Carbon Grey and Island Green.)

The company also offers a wide array of popular options including custom colors, tempered glass windshields, a bow table with seating, outriggers, underwater lighting and multiple stereo options.

Each member of the Tidewater family of boats features all-composite, no-wood construction with fiberglass stringers and a hand-laid fiberglass hull. Each boat is rigged to AYBC standards and is backed by a 10-year transferable hull warranty. For more information on the 280CC or the entire Tidewater line, or to find a dealer near you, visit tidewaterboats.com, call 803-732-7300,

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