Mackerel is a common name applied to a number of different species of fish, mostly, but not exclusively, from the family Scombridae. They occur in all tropical and temperate seas. Most live offshore in the oceanic environment but a few, like the Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus maculatus), enter bays and can be caught near bridges and piers. The largest species called mackerel is the king mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla) which can grow to 66 inches (168 cm).
Common features of mackerels are a slim, cylindrical shape (as opposed to the tunas which
are deeper bodied) and numerous finlets on the dorsal and ventral sides behind the dorsal and anal fins. The scales are extremely small, if present. They are prized for their meat, often very oily (and are highly harvested) and fighting ability, and are an important recreational and commercial fishery. The meat can spoil quickly, especially in the tropics, causing scombroid food poisoning - it must be eaten on the day of capture, unless cured. For this reason, mackerel is the only fish traditionally sold on a Sunday in London, and is the only common salt-cured sushi.
King mackerel(Scomberomorus cavalla): King mackerel are commonly called Couta. They are large fish with an elongated body, grey-blue on top and silvery sides. They have a white belly and distinctive keels at the base of the tail. The animal's sides are marked with many irregular vertical bars. Couta have very sharp teeth.
They reach a maximum size of 100 pounds. King Mackerel have long tapering bodies common of all Mackerels. Their coloration is dark gray above fading to white on the belly. With finlets running along the top and bottom of the fish forward of the tail fin.
King Mackerel can be found cruising in schools near the beach to far offshore. King Mackerel are pelagics that live in the open oceans. King Mackerel are commonly caught in water of 30' to waters as deep as 600'. King Mackerel are not a highly prized food fish but are considered a prized gamefish.
There are two primary ways that these fish are caught. One is by drifting live or cut bait, sometimes around shrimp boats or oil rigs or by trolling. Both natural and artifical baits can be used for trolling. Most King Mackerel Tournaments are won by slow trolling live baits.
Spanish mackerel(Scomberomorus maculatus): Have streamlined body, greenish above to silver below with gold spots along the sides. A distinctive black patch on the first dorsal fin and a gently sloping lateral line distinguishes Spanish from similarly marked young king mackerel.They have a size on average 1-2 lbs and may exceed 7 lbs.
They matures at 16-18" (2 yrs.) Spanish Mackerel is along current lines continental shelf drop off,reef end islands.In open ocean around bait fish They are ranged in UK , mainly in Eastern Atlantic waters from the Spanish Coast down the African coastline. .Spanish Mackerel are a schooling fish but can also be found as singles or doubles. Like most mackerels they feed predominately on smaller fish.
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