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Spanish Mackerel

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
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.

Latest Spanish Mackerel Fishing Reports and Spots

What’s in Season October 2022 - 4/16/2017 6:39:59 PM

BlackFin Tuna Greater Amberjack Triggerfish Scamp Gag Grouper Red Grouper Vermilion Snapper King Mackerel Amberines Wahoo Spanish Mackerel Alma (View)

Wrightsville Beach NC Fishing Forecast-October 2022 - 9/30/2022 11:19:52 AM

October is the month when ‘Fall’ fishing really gets in full swing around Southeast North Carolina! So many great fishing opportunities during (View)

Recfishwest's State-wide Fishing Report 23 September 2022 🎣 - 9/23/2022 6:10:19 AM

96 Recfishwest Newsletter View this email in your browser Recfishwest Fishing Report 23/09/22 spangled emperor in all its glory - Pic: Marco Fr (View)

Atlantic Highlands fluke fishing September 18 - 9/19/2022 1:17:30 AM

Made both trips for fluke again today No limits on neither trip but some had one or two keepers We did have a different species on the afternoo (View)

TW’s Daily Fishing Report - 9/18/2022 2:50:26 PM

Sunday September 18 2022 Great fishing continues this weekend! In the Surf anglers have had good luck with Drum Bluefish Sea Mullet Pompano Span (View)

Recfishwest's State-wide Fishing Report 16 September 2022 🎣 - 9/15/2022 8:00:00 PM

96 Recfishwest Newsletter View this email in your browser Recfishwest Fishing Report 16/09/22 Jim Bastow @primal_instinct_fishing absolutely na (View)

9/16/22 - 9/16/2022 10:16:31 PM

We’re still catching Blues slot and big Drum at the Hatteras Inlet. The Spanish Mackerel are back again now that the water has cleared up. The (View)

9/7 & 9/8 - 9/9/2022 5:45:20 AM

Body:  Inshore fishing is going strong right now. Red Drum both puppies and large Reds bluefish Trout and Spanish Mackerel are plentiful. Offsh (View)

Recfishwest's State-wide Fishing Report 9 September 2022 🎣 - 9/9/2022 1:49:58 AM

96 Recfishwest Newsletter View this email in your browser Recfishwest Fishing Report 09/09/22 Tackle World Exmouth would have been very excited (View)

9/3 - 9/3/2022 7:36:21 PM

Body:  Good catches of Dolphin Tuna a few Wahoo and several varieties of bottomfish for offshore boats. Inshore we’re seeing Speckled Trout Spa (View)