Spanish Mackerel

Spanish Mackerel are found in the western Atlantic north to the Chesapeake Bay and occasionally to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and south to Yucatan, Mexico. It appears that one Atlantic and one or more Gulf groups of Spanish mackerel occur in Florida waters. With rising water temperatures, the Atlantic group migrates along the Atlantic coast of the United States from Miami Florida, beginning in late February through July reaching as far as southern Cape Cod, Massachusetts, then returning in fall. The Atlantic group spawns starting in April off the Carolinas and from late August to late September in the northernmost part of its range.

An Eastern Gulf group moves northward from the Florida Keys during late winter and spring, appearing off the central West Coast of Florida about April 1. Movement continues westward and terminates along the northern Texas coast. During fall, this group migrates back to its wintering grounds in the Keys. 

The fish exhibits a green back; its sides are silvery marked with about three rows of round to elliptical yellow spots. Lateral line gradually curving down from the upper end of the gill cover toward caudal peduncle. The first (spiny) dorsal fin is black at the front. Posterior membranes are white with a black edge. Its single row of cutting edged teeth in each jaw (around sixty-four teeth in all) are large, uniform, closely spaced and flattened from side to side. As with the King mackerel and the Cero mackerel, these teeth look very similar to those of the Bluefish, Pomatomus Saltatrix.

Spanish mackerel are a good food fish and although they are considered large at 10 lb (4.53 kg), some record specimens will grow to more than twice that size. They are a shallow water species, preferring sand bottom in 10 to 40 foot (6 to 12 m) depths, occasionally found as deep as 80 feet (24 m).

This is an excellent game fish that can be taken on a wide variety of lures and baits. Nylon jigs are considered one of the best lures, especially when retrieved rapidly with an occasional jerk of the rod tip to impact a darting motion to the jig. Feather lures and spoons are also successful, while minnows and live shrimp are the best natural baits. Occasionally almost any lure or bait will work, while at other times, nothing will.

Recreational anglers catch Spanish mackerel from boats while trolling or drifting and from boats, piers, jetties, and beaches by casting spoons and jigs and live-bait fishing. Fast lure retrieves are key to catching these quick fish.

Species Information

Scientific Name:Scomberomorous maculatus
Environment:Inshore, Nearshore, Surf
Ideal Temp:>= 65°F (18°C)
Technique:Casting, Fly, Trolling
Lure Type:Flies, Plugs, Spoons, Topwater, Trolling
World Record:5.89 kg (13 lb 0 oz) Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina , USA
Other Names:spanish mackerel, atlantic spanish mackerel, spanish

Latest Spanish Mackerel Fishing Reports and Spots

1-13-21 - 1/16/2021 4:16:06 PM

Good morning everyone. Spanish Mackerel have been the best bet for those fishing from the beach and nearshore with some sizeable schools in the (View)

1-6-21 - 1/9/2021 8:31:07 AM

Good morning everyone. The cold is definitely here helping some fisheries. In the surf Bluefish have been consistently taking spoons and jigs w (View)

12-23-20 - 12/25/2020 4:01:09 PM

Merry Christmas everyone hopefully you have a great holiday with family and loved ones. Spanish Mackerel have been plentiful near shore taking (View)

MAY 2019 Fishing Report - 11/8/2020 12:26:06 AM

May is one of my favorite months to fish in NE Florida. Many of the migratory fish have arrived including King and Spanish mackerel jack creval (View)

MARCH 2020 Fishing Report - 11/8/2020 12:26:04 AM

March marks the end of winter here in Northeast Florida and the beginning of transitioning to a summer pattern. We will still have cold fronts (View)

Brigantine Fishing in Mid- July - 11/5/2020 5:16:11 PM

The back bay fishing has been very good for fluke with about a 1 in 10 keeper ratio. The wreck fishing has been excellent for keeper sea bass a (View)

MY NEW RIDE …. The Bounty Hunter - 11/3/2020 7:42:30 PM

My new ride!   The Bounty Hunter formerly Calypso has had a makeover and is now ready to fish.  There is some great action to be had from Cairns (View)

Fall 2020 Fishing Charter Report/Forecast - 11/3/2020 3:21:11 PM

October is bringing weeks of choppy seas so far in 2020 so we have been focusing our efforts on inshore fishing for spanish mackerel snook tarpo (View)

Hot Spots Report for Pensacola Fishing Charters September 2017 - 11/3/2020 2:46:24 PM

Pensacola Fishing Charters September Report Inshore – Inshore Guide The speckled trout and redfish bite was as good this past August as it has b (View)

Hot Spots Report for Pensacola Fishing Charters October 2017 - 11/3/2020 2:46:23 PM

Pensacola Fishing Charters October Report Inshore – Inshore Charters Anglers are finding nice size Spanish mackerel both in Pensacola Bay and ou (View)