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Florida Sportfishing Species

Family Scombridae


Description: Color of back iridescent bluish green; sides silvery, yellow spots forming lines above and below a bronze stripe from pectoral fin to base of tail; front of first dorsal fin is bluish black; lateral line curves gradually to base of caudal fin.

Similar Fish: Spanish mackerel, S. maculatus; king mackerel, S. cavalla (only the cero has the yellow-brown stripes from the pectoral to caudal fin).

Where found: near shore and offshore fish occurring mainly in south Florida, especially over coral reefs and wrecks.

Size: Common to 5 pounds.

Remarks: Unlike other mackerels, does not stray far from south Florida waters; spawns offshore in midsummer; feeds on small fish and squid.

Description: color of back iridescent bluish green; sides silvery, streamlined body with tapered head; no black pigment on front of dorsal fin; lateral line starts high and drops sharply below the second dorsal fin; young fish often have yellow spots like those of the Spanish mackerel.

Similar Fish: cero, S. regalis; Spanish mackerel, S. maculatus.

Where found: NEARSHORE and OFFSHORE, occasionally taken from piers running into deep water.

Size: Common to 20 pounds.

Remarks: schooling fish that migrates fom south Florida waters in winter to more northerly waters in spring; Gulf population thought to be separate from Atlantic population, with considerable mixing in winter from Cape Canaveral past Key West; spawns in midsummer OFFSHORE; feeds on small fish and squid.

Description: color of back green, shading to silver on sides, golden yellow irregular spots above and below lateral line; front of dorsal fin black; lateral line curves gently to base of tail.

Similar Fish: cero, S. regalis; king mackerel, S. cavalla.

Where found: INSHORE, NEARSHORE and OFFSHORE, especially over grass beds and reefs; absent from north Florida waters in winter.

Size: average catch less than 2 pounds (20 inches).

Remarks: average catch less than 2 pounds (20 inches).


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