Atlantic Chub Mackerel

I had a couple of days mullet fishing yesterday and today, making the most of a brief calmer spell before ex-hurricane Lorenzo heralds the arrival of another lengthy unsettled spell. I'll write up the mulleting separately but today's session on a low water rock mark in Bantry Bay brought something of interest - my fourth new species of the year.


There were mullet present but they weren't really hanging on and nearly every positive bite I hit turned out to be a mackerel. They were quite good size and I decided to keep a few for eating, in the end taking a dozen. One immediately attracted attention, being a really slippery customer to get hold of, much more so than the others. Then I noticed its black band markings weren't quite right and it had feint spots right down its silver flank to its belly. Its tail was noticeably yellow and its eye seemed bigger than normal. Here it is with a standard mackerel below for comparison. The spots and yellow tail have faded somewhat in death ...


It is an Atlantic chub mackerel, Scomber colias, formerly known as a Spanish mackerel though use of that name is now discouraged to avoid confusion with Spanish mackerel of the genus Scomberomorus which are much bigger and toothier animals such as the Atlantic Spanish mackerel found in the Gulf of Mexico and on the Atlantic coast of the USA.


The chub mackerel seems to be a rare capture in Ireland (though I'd guess it sometimes goes unrecognised for what it is) and it isn't even an eligible species on the IRFC record list. Other reported captures all seem to be boat-caught, such as one in Sligo Bay in 2018 that prompted this item on the Off The Scale online angling magazine website.


I'd hazard a guess nobody else has ever caught one on bread flake fished eighteen inches deep!



Write a comment

Comments: 0