Menticirrhus americanus, the southern kingfish, southern kingcroaker, the king whiting, the Carolina whiting, or the Sea Mullet, is a species of marine fish in the family Sciaenidae. It lives in shallow coastal waters on the western fringes of the Atlantic Ocean.

The southern kingcroaker can grow to about 50 centimetres (20 in) but a more usual adult length is 30 centimetres (12 in).

The southern kingcroaker is a slender fish, deepest about two fifths of the way along. The upper jaw projects further than the lower and the snout overhangs the mouth. There is a small barbel on the fleshy lower lip. The dorsal fin is divided into two parts. The number of spines and soft rays in the fins is indicative of the species and in M. americanus, the front part of the dorsal fin is broadly triangular and has 10 spines and the other part is long and has 1 spine and 22 to 25 soft rays. The pointed pectoral fins are large and the anal fin has 1 spine and 7 or 8 soft rays. The tail fin has a characteristic slightly concave upper lobe and a rounded lower lobe. The colour of the fish is silvery grey, sometimes with a coppery sheen, and paler grey below. There are sometimes several broad slanting bands of darker colour on the back of the fish.

The southern kingcroaker is a subtropical, demersal fish found in shallow waters in the western Atlantic Ocean. It has a discontinuous range extending from New York southwards to Texas, and from Yucatán southwards to Buenos Aires, Argentina. The northern portion of its range is interrupted its not being found in southern Florida and the southern portion of its range is interrupted by absence from the West Indies. It is found in places where the seabed is sand or mud, often on sandy beaches. The juveniles can tolerate low salinity levels and are often found in estuaries.

The southern kingcroaker feeds on benthic invertebrates. The diet consists mainly of small crustaceans such as shrimps and crabs but amphipods, polychaete worms, molluscs and small fish are also eaten and it also scavenges for detritus and carrion.

Anglers catch kingfish from piers, jetties and boats in the nearshore ocean, usually with two-hook bottom rigs baited with shrimp, mole crabs, bloodworms or squid. Anglers also use jigs or spec rigs to catch kingfish. Kingfish are often caught while fishing for weakfish.

Species Information

Scientific Name:Menticirrhus americanus
Environment:Inshore, Surf
Ideal Temp:72-86°F (22-30°C)
Technique:Bottom Fishing, Jigging
Lure Type:Bottom Rig, Jigs
World Record:1.27 kg (2 lb 13 oz) Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA
Other Names:sea mullet, whiting, Virginia mullet, southern kingfish, southern kingcroaker

Latest Whiting Fishing Reports and Spots

Duck And Corolla Surf Fishing Report 9/21/21 - 9/21/2021 7:41:06 AM

All along the beaches in Duck and Corolla Outer Banks we are catching good numbers of sea mullet spot pompano bluefish and red drum. Picture co (View)

Puppy Drum Duck Surf OBX 9/17/21 - 9/17/2021 9:27:47 AM

We are getting plenty of puppy drum spot sea mullet and mackerel on the northern beaches. We have plenty of fresh bait in stock. Photo courtesy (View)

Saturday 09/11/21 - 9/11/2021 9:36:36 PM

Sharks drum and  sea mullet today at ramp 44.  Speckled trout and flounder at ramp 60 with pompano behind the motels. Not a bad day. The post S (View)

Kowabunga - 9/10/2021 8:51:00 PM

What a SWELL week! The bar hasn't been crossable these past few days to get out into the ocean but that doesn't mean there hasn't been any acti (View)

Flounder and Pompano Duck Surf 9/7/21 - 9/7/2021 3:38:39 PM

We have been catching plenty of flounder and Pompano plus sea mullet on the beach in Duck. Water temp today in Duck is 79 degrees. Photo courte (View)

8//25/21 Wednesday evening - 8/25/2021 9:40:07 PM

There were Pompano and Sheep Head caught at the Jetties today. Sea Mullets Blues and sharks were all caught at the Point today. Mike The post 8 (View)

Thursday 8/25/21 - 8/25/2021 9:21:00 PM

Sea Mullet Pompanos and Blues reported from the Point. Erin & Grant The post Thursday 8/25/21 appeared first on Red Drum Tackle Shop. (View)

8-24-2021 Fishing Report - 8/24/2021 9:44:17 PM

Bluefish Sea Mullets and Sharks at Ramp 43 and 44. Speckled Trout bit on the sound side has still been killer mostly on jigheads and soft plast (View)

Pirate Sighting - 8/20/2021 9:52:01 PM

Inshore had a good day fishing trout and drum. Nearshore caught sea mullet ribbon fish spanish mackerel sea bass moonfish false albacore and re (View)

Fishing Report – Friday 08/20/2021 - 8/20/2021 8:47:19 PM

Spanish mackerel were caught this morning and evening off Ramp 44.  Also sea mullet were caught off Ramp 38.  There are still lots of speckled (View)