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

9/19 - 9/22 - 9/23/2021 5:34:17 AM

Body:  While the weather has caused several cancellations offshore boats that have gotten out have done well with Dolphin Tuna and Wahoo catche (View)

Sunshine Coast Fishing Report - 3/2/2021 9:00:24 AM

Sunshine Coast Fishing Report Hello and welcome to your Sunshine Coast Fishing Report from Odyssey Charters. In the past month we have seen an (View)

Good Times Even Better Fishing - 9/19/2021 10:11:00 PM

After a couple of day of big swells and high winds the ocean stirred up some meet for our fisherman today! Good amounts of tuna and mahi across (View)

Fishing Report – Sunday 09/19/2021 - 9/19/2021 8:51:55 PM

It was another shark fest at the Point today.  Lots of sharks caught along with some blue fish and Spanish mackerel. An angler weighed in a 5 p (View)

Dunedin Causeway - 9/20/2021 1:10:38 AM

Good Snook fishing here, especially in the fall. You can catch small Gag Grouper around the rocks.Speckled Trout, Spanish Mackerel, Bluefish, (View)

Fishing Report – Saturday 09/18/2021 - 9/18/2021 9:02:03 PM

Quite a good day at the Point:  lots of sharks, puppy drum and some Spanish mackerel caught.  Pompano were caught off Ramp 49.  (View)

Great Eating Fish - 9/17/2021 11:19:07 AM

We are having great catches of Flounder Black Drum Spanish Mackerel Spadefish Trigger Fish and Red Drum on the Virginia[...] The post Great Eat (View)

Fin Filled - 9/16/2021 8:50:00 PM

Black fin tuna yellow fin tuna and mahi were brought in from off shore today with most boats flying release flags. Near shore caught a mix bag (View)

See what's biting across WA in Recfishwest's State-wide Fishing Report 17 September 2021 🎣 - 9/16/2021 9:27:12 PM

96 Recfishwest Newsletter View this email in your browser Recfishwest Fishing Report 17/09/21 Our Contributers Zach Relph Joachim Azzopardi Pet (View)

Duck Blind Slough Flat - 9/16/2021 8:27:32 PM

Good broken bottom that holds bait and fish. Good deep water nearby. A little difficult to get in here, but worth it. (View)