Spanish Mackerel

Spanish Mackerel are greenish along the back with silver sides and belly. Yellow or olive oval spots traverse the body, which is covered with very tiny scales.

Spanish Mackerel and juvenile king mackerel can be easily confused. Juvenile king mackerel will sometimes have the yellowish spots much the same as mature Spanish mackerel. A juvenile king mackerel’s lateral line dips significantly compared to a Spanish Mackerel. The dorsal fin of a Spanish will be black or very dark in color. A juvenile king’s dorsal fin will be a much lighter, more of a gray or white color.

Spanish Mackerel can also be easily confused with the cero mackerel. Spanish Mackerel and cero mackerel are generally the same size and can look very similar. Spanish Mackerel lack the distinct orange to bronze band or stripe found on cero mackerel.

Spanish Mackerel Illustration by Duane Raver, Jr.
Season Open Year-Round
Size Limit 14 inch minimum
Daily Limit / Person 15
Delaware Range Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay
Abundance in Delaware Waters Uncommon - this species is more common south of Delaware.
General Habitat and Food Preferences Spanish Mackerel is a shallow water species, preferring sand bottom in depths of 10 to 40 feet.

They feed on small fishes with lesser quantities of shrimps and squids.
Did You Know? The Spanish Mackerel is a speedster and a prized game fish. It is known for its blistering runs on light tackle.
Common Lures and Baits Spanish Mackerel are caught by casting shiny spoons and jigs or trolling various live and dead baitfish, feathered jigs, cedar plugs and other artificial lures. Fast lure retrieves are key to catching these quick fish.

Small live baitfish will also take Spanish Mackerel.
Typical Sizes Caught Spanish Mackerel are commonly caught in the range of 2 to 3 pounds by anglers.
Citation Minimum Length and Weight Live Release Award
Adult: 22 inches minimum
Youth (age 15 and under): 20 inches minimum

Sport Fishing Tournament Award
Adult: 5 pounds minimum
Youth (age 15 and under): 3.5 pounds minimum
Delaware State Record 6 pounds 4 ounces
Eric Ludwig