Spanish Mackerel

Spanish Mackerel: Scomberomorous maculatus

Florida Regulations:  

RegulationsGulf State WatersAtlantic State Waters
Minimum Size Limit 12” fork length 
Daily Bag Limit 15 per harvester per day 

Gear Requirements:

  • Legal Gear: beach or haul seine, cast net, hook and line, spear

State Waters Harvest Seasons


Habitat and Fishing tips:

Spanish mackerel are a pelagic, fast swimming fish that are prevalent throughout Florida’s coastal waters when water temperatures exceed 70 degrees. To remain in warm water, Spanish mackerel migrate out of the northern parts of the state in the fall of the year and return in April with the warming waters. They are frequently found in shallow, clear water over grass beds and along sandy beaches where they feed on schools of baitfish. Spanish mackerel are aggressive feeders that will strike a wide variety of natural and artificial baits, so they can be very easy to catch. Many anglers identify the location of Spanish mackerel by trolling or watching for birds diving on schools of baitfish, which often indicates that mackerel are forcing the bait to the surface. Angling techniques include trolling or casting with small shiny spoons, dusters or jigs. Light spinning or bait-casting tackle with 10 to 15 pound monofilament line is adequate; however, 30 to 60 pound monofilament leader is required due to the mackerel’s razor sharp teeth. 

State Record:

12 lb, caught near Ft. Pierce


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Image Credit:Diane Rome Peebles

FWC Facts:
In the past, snook were known as "soapfish" when some sections of the "soapy" tasting skin were left on the fillets due to poor cleaning practices.

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