New Kingfish In Town

 Last week Kevin Michael sent us a picture of what he and we thought was a red fish without a spot.  Because it was nearly four pounds.  Our southern and northern kingfish never get that big.  I decided to do a little research and it turns out though that gulf kingfish do get that big, upwards of 18 inches.  I’ve never seen one before up here.  If you look in the picture it is huge compared to those 12 inch bluefish.  The differences are slight, because each type of kingfish is very similar looking. 

Mentricirrhus Littoralis, gulf kingfish, delaware, sussex county, surf fishing, fishbites, southern kingfish, whiting, northern kingfish
Gulf Kingfish filets … Kevin Michael

Kevin Michael … “I thought it was a kingfish and the old-timer next to me said it was a red drum. May have been a state record. He (son) took a quick photo just before I filleted it. The record is 4 lbs and it was in my opinion right there at 4lbs. Oh well. Caught it in the wash on fishbites trying for pompano. ” 

  These gulf kings have been caught as far north as Long Beach Island in Jersey.  They look like a giant southern kingfish, because they are a giant kingfish in the same family.    

Mentricirrhus Littoralis, gulf kingfish, delaware, sussex county, surf fishing, fishbites, southern kingfish, whiting, northern kingfish
Gulf Kingfish (Mentricirrhus Littoralis ) with 2 bluefish and a northern pufferfish … Kevin Michael
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Gulf Kingfish, Mentricirrhus Littoralis
Also known as whiting.  

Body is silvery all over, without dark marks
First dorsal fin tip is often dusky-brown
Caudal fin (tail) has a blackish tip
Scales on underside are smaller than body scales
Barbel on lower jaw  

Similar Species:
Southern kingfish, M. americanus (caudal fin lacks a blackish tip)
Northern kingfish, M. saxatilis (disting “V” mark above pectoral fins)

Fish On!

Rich King

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