Locating kings in surf?

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Hey folks,

Only times I've been lucky enough to find kings in the surf I've simply accidentally stumbled across them. I must say I do nearly all of my surf fishing in OC. I know they can fluctuate greatly from year to year. I remember several years ago they were everywhere. For weeks catching a mess of them was as easy as trying two or three spots. Now the reports are speratic. I believe people often mistake kings nibbling on gulp for snappers. 

My question is, are there things such as depth, certain soft structure, current, wind direction or certain tide stages that make finding them more likely? Other than chasing reports, how does one narrow their search to track them down?

i just returned from a west coast trip. I did a bit of surf fishing. Their were Corbina which, other than color and size, look a whole lot like our king fish. So much so that they have to be close relatives. The goto bait for Corbina is mole crabs and a good place to look for "corbs" is near mole crab beds. One big difference between west coast corbs & our kings is that corbs will ride waves into shockingly shallow water to suck up crabs & slide back w/ the receding wave. I'm taking inces of water w/ their back we'll out of the water. I've never witnessed our northern kings doing this. My point, or question rather, is, are mole crab beds hot spots for our kitchen king fish? How about areas that are thick w/ those tiny clams? 

I'm also guessing areas of finer, less course sand w/ less pebbles might be better?

Hopeing people will share their tips and experience to help tide these tastie, feisty little bait stealers!!!

Thanks in advance,


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The trough on the frontside of a bar as some light whitewater washes over it

all along the edges of a rip current

Once upon a time, in the NE corner pocket of a jetty

Plenty more I'm sure but these worked for me

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Sudsy's advice can put you on a lot of species.

If there's not so much structure around, I've found them by casting far and reeling back in slow with pauses. Once you find out how far off the beach they are, you're good.

If the water's clear, take a swim with goggles. I've seen a lot of kingfish that was, though mostly small.

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