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

Fishing Report – Saturday 04/24/2021 - 4/24/2021 9:39:15 PM

A hammerhead and sand tiger shark were caught off Ramp 43 today.  Also sharks were caught off Ramp 44.  Ramp 45 was opened for the tournament a (View)

OBX Fishing Report Thursday April 22 2021 - 4/22/2021 5:01:25 PM

This week we have been catching sea mullet speckled trout some bluefish black drum on the OBX beaches. Picture of our customers catch and relea (View)

4/23/21 Friday evening. - 4/23/2021 9:29:03 PM

There was about an hour of nonstop catching big drum at the point this evening and then it died off. There was all you wanted to catch sea mull (View)

Fishing Report – Thursday 04/22/2021 - 4/22/2021 9:32:23 PM

Our shop completed four red drum citations today.  It was reported that approximately 35 big drum were caught off Ramp 44.  Also sea mullet wer (View)

Wednesday 4/21/21 - 4/21/2021 10:41:27 PM

Sharks at the point Sea Mullet and puffers at Ramp 44. Sea Mullet at Ramp 38. -Mike The post Wednesday 4/21/21 appeared first on Red Drum Tackl (View)

Hatteras Island Fishing Report - 4/20/2021 9:33:08 PM

Here is the Frisco Rod and Gun Outer Banks Fishing Report for Hatteras Island Not a bad day here weather wise. Mostly sunny with a high tempera (View)

4/20/21 Tuesday Evening - 4/20/2021 9:43:43 PM

Today ive heard about puffers and sea mullet at ramp 44 and lots of puffers at Rodanthe pier sharks at the point.  Mike. The post 4/20/21 Tuesd (View)

4/19/2021 Monday Evening - 4/19/2021 9:53:49 PM

Well all i have heard of today is sea mullet at the point and puffers and sea mullet at 55.       Mike. The post 4/19/2021 Monday Evening appea (View)

Fishing Report – Sunday 04/18/2021 - 4/18/2021 8:58:23 PM

Puppy drum were caught off Ramp 38.  Anglers were catching sharks off Ramp 44.  Also off Ramps 48 and 49 sea mullet and puffers were caught. Wh (View)

04/14/2021 Wednesday - 4/14/2021 10:03:47 PM

Slow fishing today mostly sea mullet and a few blowfish caught off ramp 38 a few sharks were also caught off the point today. Be sure to check (View)