Warm weather is bringing more to Grand Strand visitors than a suntan. The king mackerel have arrived early and in a big way, bending rods everywhere from the beachfront out to 60 feet of water

Capt. Jay Sconyers of Aces Up Fishing Charters is pounding the kings, getting double-digit catches in a short time on the water.

“We are smashing the king mackerel right now, catching 12 to 15 at a time,” said Sconyers (843-997-3270). “We haven’t seen them come in like this during the spring in about five years. I am not sure why they are here so early, but they are sure here!”

Sconyers relates the current king mackerel fishing situation to the fall bite with consistent hookups with three to four fish.

“Earlier this week, I put out five rods, and in a few minutes we had all five reels screaming,” he said.

Sconyers credits the warm water and the abundance of bait to the kings’ early arrival. Extremely large schools of menhaden have showed up from the beachfront out to 60 feet, with a concentration around the livebottom areas in 40 to 60 feet of water.

“The water is in the low 70s already out there,” he said.

Dead cigar minnows have been more than sufficient baits, according to Sconyers, who said the kings are eager to eat about anything they see.

Sconyers is slow-trolling cigar minnows on typical king mackerel rigs, easing along at around 3 knots, and his light-tackle setup is making his clients earn fish that bites.

“I am using flounder rods right now because the majority of the fish are on the smaller side, between 10 and 20 pounds, and they are incredible fighters on light tackle,” he says.

Sconyers expects cobia to show up anytime, but the king mackerel bite is more than enough to keep anglers’ fires burning, especially in the areas outside of Murrells Inlet.