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Articles » Fish Guides » Saltwater Fish » Cero Mackerel: How to Catch Scomberomorus regalis

Cero Mackerel: How to Catch Scomberomorus regalis

Catching cero mackerel on rod and reel or speargun is a blast!

This guide will show you how to catch mackerel the easy way.

how to catch cero mackerel
The large yellow line on the side is a great tell if it’s a cero mackerel. Source: Kevin Bryant

Recommended Fishing Gear:

Overview

Cero mackerel is a ray-finned bony fish that is a bit bigger than the Spanish mack. This mack has stripes and spots whereas the latter only has spots.

Cero Mackerel Facts

Scientific NameScomberomorus regalis
Common Name(s)Cero Mackerel
FamilyScombridae
Identifying CharacteristicsThis mackerel has a black dorsal fin and a yellowish stripe and bars on the side.
Depth Range12 to 45 m
HabitatCero mackerel can be found in the western Atlantic from Cape Cod through Florida, to the Caribbean Sea right to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
LimitsCheck your local regulations
Largest Recorded93 lbs
StatusNo

How to Catch Cero Mackerel

They remain near the surface so use topwater lures to attract them. You can also use shiny spoons or chum that is made with different cut up baitfish such as pilchard or ballyhoo.

If you’re using live bait, go for herrings, sardines, crabs, shrimp, and menhaden. If you cannot find live bait, you can go for the frozen variety such as frozen cigar minnows, ribbonfish, and Spanish mack.

cero swimming near reef
A small mackerel swimming near the reef. Source: Steven Severinghaus

Big ceros are in deeper waters. Bring the proper mackerel rigs, lures, terminal tackle to switch if necessary.

Fishing Tactics

  1. A hooked cero will make a mad dash to safety so make sure that the drag is not too tight.
  2. A solid rig is a braid mainline to a 30-inch piece of mono to 18 inches of #3 wire to your pompano jig tipped with shrimp.

Fishing Tips

  • If you are trolling for ceros with live bait, do so slowly by using a dead idle. Do this by nudging the boat along the water slowly using a single-engine.
  • By fishing with several baits at once you can increase your chances of reeling in a school of ceros. Similarly, you can use 6 mackerel lures and spread them out but keep checking them periodically.
  • 20 lb braid should suffice for this mackerel fish.

Spearfishing

  1. Staring these fish down can make them nervous and they can swim off too fast for you to take aim. Allow the mackerel to swim right up to you by keeping very still in the water and then shoot.
  2. A popular spearfishing setup for this mackerel is a 1.2m rail gun that has a 20m float line and an 11L float.

Seasons

They can be found throughout the year but if you want to find them in abundance head out in the water between April and October when the fish is spawning. The best time to catch mackerel is on the full moon or during the first and last two hours of daylight.

FAQs

Q: Does mackerel have scales?

A: The scales of the mackerel are so small that it feels as if it doesn’t have any scales at all.

Q: Can you eat cero mackerel?

A: Yes. They have a full of flavor and rich taste. It is a stronger tasting fish compared to other oily varieties.

Q: What do they eat?

A: They are an apex predator that hunts other fish such as snappers, grunts, and halfbeaks but they also feed on crustaceans and mollusks.


The Anglers Behind This Article:

Jon Stenstrom
Founder

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