The best king mackerel fishing off South Carolina occurs summer through early fall when big kings (and baitfish) are most abundant near the coast. A major plus to this king mackerel fishing is that it's available close to shore, right around tide-line rips and water-color changes at inlets and sounds, and near the beach. Lots of huge kings are caught by people fishing from small, 16- to 20-foot boats. Although kings can be caught with lures that are cast or trolled, most anglers use natural baits, primarily menhaden (pogies). Big schools of menhaden are found in "balls" near the surf and are easy to catch with a cast net. Use tandem-hook bait rigs to slow-troll the menhaden. Hook a bait through its nose with the second hook back in its body. Many savvy mackerel anglers stagger the depth at which baits are worked. Fish some single-hook rigs from "free lines" near the surface. Take others deep with small sinkers. The best technique is to use downriggers to completely cover the water column. Contact: Charter captains Reid Bost (843-454-0312), Richard Brackett (843-442-1389) and Fritz von Kolnitz (843-345-9969).