Spanish Mackerel


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Narrow-barred Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson) are one of best game fish, prized by anglers for their aggressive attitude, fighting action and eating qualities. Their color are dark blue along the top, becoming silvery towards the centre and underneath. They have a banded pattern, narrow dark bars running vertically along the body. They are simply called Spanish mackerel or Tenggiri Batang in Malay. Other names for them are Giant Mackerel, King Mackerel, Narrow-banded Spanish Mackerel, Spaniard, Banded Tuna, Leaping Tuna, Tenggiri and Batang.

Spanish mackerel are surface-dwelling fish that can be found in water as shallow as 15 meters to as deep as 200 m. They are a fast growing species and can reach over 40 cm in length in their first year of life, reaching maturity at two years of age. They can reach 240 cm fork length and over 15 years of age. Usual size caught, however. are between 20 to 140 cm.

Spanish mackerel are ferocious predators and will attack smaller fish like scad, anchovies, herring, and sardines, as well as any shiny moving objects. They hunt for their prey mostly just below the surface, midway in the water column or sometimes just above the bottom. They are equipped with razor sharp teeth and long narrow bodies adapted to a predatory life in the open ocean.

Adults form groups to feed and spawn in coastal areas. At other times, they disperse deeper shelf waters but remain in the same region. They are diurnal fish but are more active during the day, They usually feed in the morning from 6 to 10 a.m, and late in the afternoon until 10 p.m. The younger adult fish (1-3 years) consume more food than the older fish.

If there are birds diving and swooping and flying off the surface of the water with food, then it's a sign that something is going on just below the surface. A lot of different surface and mid water predators can cause this activity and one of them are the Spanish mackerel. These predators school around the smaller fishes to tighten them into a sphere shape school near the surface of the water and then take turns eating them.

Spanish mackerel can be caught using a variety of techniques. Floating live bait on surface or mid water is the technique most often used in Malaysia besides trolling, jigging and casting with metal lures ( or spoon). Mackerel have razor sharp teeth that can effortlessly slice through prey and fishing line. It is essential that steel wire is used for lures and baits. The drag for the fishing reel must be set loose enough to allow the fish to run without breaking the line. Once hooked, they will dash and pull the line strongly and fast. Keep the line tight enough and do not over tighten reel drag to avoid line break. Many fish are lost when tightening the reel drag when fighting ferocious surface predators and many lost due to loose line. The key of a good tackle setup for spanish mackerel is a soft fishing rod (with good lifting power if possible) to keep the line in tension and more than 200 meters of line to allow the fish to run until it tired down.

They are a very versatile fish when it comes to cooking and can be fried, grilled, steamed, or curried.. They are a undoubtedly delicious no matter how you cook it. They are high in fats and oils such as omega 3 making them a healthy and tasty choice.


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