SPANISH MACKEREL (Scomberomorus maculatus) OTHER NAMES: Sierra
Long and slim body, has tiny finlets along top and bottom between dorsal fin and tail. More colorful than King, with golden-yellow spots Pectoral fin is smooth.
RANGE: All Florida coasts, Cuba and Hispaniola; not present in most Caribbean Islands or the Bahamas.
HABITAT: Largely coastal, but roams offshore at times.
DESCRIPTION: Dark above with silvery sides. Many spots, which are both yellow and brown. The body is proportionately deeper than with juvenile King Mackerel, and the yellow spots appear rounder and brighter, but if in doubt, the only true identifier is the lateral line, which tapers rather gently from front to back with no severe dip.
SIZE: Common at 1-3 pounds; not too unusual at 5-7 pounds; maximum potential over 10 pounds. World record 13 pounds; Florida record 12 pounds.
FOOD VALUE: If you like rich, rather dark fillets, they are great broiled or skinned and fried. Good smoked, too.
GAME QUALITIES: Outstanding on light tackle; very fast runs.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Spinning, baitcasting and fly outfits. Spinning is often best because the faster retrieve of a spinning reel is sometimes needed to move a lure at a pace that will interest the Mackerel. Best lures are small white nylon jigs and silver spoons, but many others work, including topwater at times. Flies should be small with lots of flash. Best baits are small silvery baitfish, live shrimp and drifted strips. Mackerel Combo Guide
FISHING SYSTEMS: Drifting; Still Fishing; Trolling.