The cero mackerel is fond of living in saltwater. These fish can be found in large quantities in the western Atlantic, usually close to Florida and the Caribbean. The cero mackerel have a lot of resemblances with the Spanish mackerel, which is more commonly known than the cero mackerel.
The question that arises here is what characteristics make the two fishes distinct from each other. The cero mackerel has yellow and orange dots, and a distinctive bronze line along the side extends.
This stripe starts at the pectoral fin and ends at the caudal fin. They also have a bluish-black spot on the front of the first dorsal fin.
The cero mackerel are also known as torpedo-shaped species. They have sharp teeth as compared to razors. These fish used to live in warm coastal surface waters.
The razor-like teeth make it possible for them to hunt small fish in that area. These fish possess great energy, swiftness, and dexterity. They are also known as game fish.
In order to know more about the cero mackerel, let’s hop into this insightful article.
Appearance, Habitat, And Behavior
The tropical and sub-tropical waters in the western Atlantic are the spots where you can find the cero mackerel. Their range stretches all the way to Brazil, but the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, and the West Indies are where they are most prevalent.
They are fish that live both close to shore and offshore, and they prefer clear coastal waters to coral reefs and shipwrecks.
They do not school and usually move in very small groups or by themselves. Typically, they are between three and sixty-six feet deep, close to the water’s surface or midway down.
In the middle of the summer, they breed offshore in deeper waters, even though they do not relocate or leave their biological habitat. Each female releases between 160,000 and 2.23 million buoyant eggs, ranging in size.
The appearance of these fish is quite interesting.
- Blueish-green on the back fades to silvery sides and a belly.
- Silvery-yellow spots on the sides, some of which form shattered lines.
- The side stripe is yellowish and extends from the pectoral fin to the caudal fin.
- The first dorsal fin’s anterior portion has a bluish-black spot.
- The lateral line gently slopes toward the tail from behind the gill cover.
Cero mackerel typically weighs around 8 pounds and measures around 18 inches in length. The maximum length of some fish, though, can reach 36 inches. Rarely, this species has grown to a length and weight of up to 72 inches and 17 pounds.
The slender body of the cero mackerel, its pointed head, and its forked tail are designed for speed and momentum so that it can chase and capture its prey while evading predators. The markings on the Cero Mackerel are distinct and beautiful.
Lifespan & Reproduction
Cero mackerel typically lives for 12 years, but it has been known to live for 20 years. At around two years old, they become sexually mature, which means they can reproduce.
In Jamaica, breeding occurs in open water between April and October, while it happens year-round in Florida, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela.
The Cero mackerels Females typically range in length from 15 to 31 inches when they reach sexual maturity. A type of oviparous fish that lays eggs is the cero mackerel.
Depending on the season, a female can lay eggs anywhere from 160,000 to 2.23 million. They release their eggs first, followed by the males’ sperm.
Their larvae and eggs are pelagic, which means that they float unhindered in the ocean. Zooplankton serves as food for the mackerel larvae and young.
When fully grown, they hunt shrimp, forage fish, copepods, squid, and other small crustaceans with their razor-sharp teeth. They are then pursued by larger pelagic creatures like pelicans, sharks, sea lions, tuna, billfish, and sharks.
As the eggs drift, they become fertilized. Since the eggs are buoyant, they will float until they hatch. The eggs typically have a diameter of 048 inches. Usually, they hatched after a few days.
The caudal fin emerges first during the cero mackerel larva’s development, which is interesting. The pectoral, pelvic fin then starts to develop, followed by the first and second dorsal fins.
Where Does Cero Mackerel Live?
Warm water environments are ideal for the cero mackerel. The cero mackerel inhabits a variety of locations with warm water.
The western Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean, and the Bahamas all contain a lot of areas with warm water. Cero mackerel can also be found off the coasts of Florida, Cape Cod, and even the West Indies.
Cero mackerel can frequently be seen in certain areas of Massachusetts. They are based in the Gulf of Mexico as well.
This is understandable given that the Cero Mackerel prefers warmer water climates and hangs out near the surface where the water is warmer.
How To Identify A Cero Mackerel?
In contrast to king mackerel and Spanish mackerel, cero has a pattern of yellow spots and streaks, a dark-colored line running the length of its body, and a lateral line that gradually curves down toward the caudal peduncle. Similar to the Spanish mackerel, the third anterior of the first dorsal fins.
Similar to king mackerel, the pectoral fins are covered in tiny scales. They are epipelagic species, typically found alone or in small groups, and are most prevalent in the crystal-clear waters surrounding coral reefs.
The typical market size for cero mackerel is 5 to 10 pounds, with an average weight of eight pounds. When fully grown, they measure between 12 and 15 inches long. The world record for an entire tackle, however, weighed 17 pounds, 2 ounces.
Their streamlined bodies make them extremely adept at moving at swift speeds, and they have been reported to reach a top speed of up to 30mph. They are frequently categorized as one of the smaller thinning fish.
How To Catch Cero Mackerel?
Cero mackerel can move quickly but lack endurance because they are typically skinny compared to their weight. The only challenge for fishers should be the chance of these fish grinding through the bar with their razor-sharp teeth.
Cero mackerel can be caught all year long and don’t require a challenging tackle. A spinning reel and a 20lb braid line are typically good choices for fishers.
The key is to strike a balance between the visibility of the cable and its strength against the mackerel’s teeth because these fish have excellent vision and can detect a thicker line.
The cero mackerel can be tempted to patch reefs by chumming with ballyhoo, pilchard, or any other baitfish. Once enticed, they will take nearly any bait or lure. They frequently feed off the surface and will jump at topwater lures, making this method of fishing the most daring.
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Cero Mackerel Care Guide
As a predator, the cero mackerel enjoys going on the hunt for food. It prefers to eat clupeoid, which are fish that resemble herring. The clupeoid group of fish swims quickly, which presents a beneficial challenge for cero mackerel.
Anchovies, crustaceans, and squid are additional food sources for cero mackerel. Cero mackerel are fast and nimble predators that use their stripes to throw off their prey before striking.
Because of this, the cero mackerel is an easily caught meal and a swift and agile predator. The cero mackerel hunts for food by swimming through schools of fish and attacking its prey.
It can effectively hunt its prey thanks to a slender body that was created for speed. Clupeoid fish are easy prey for the cero mackerel because they congregate in large schools.
The benthic zone near the ocean’s bottom is where the majority of crustaceans typically reside. These include crabs, shrimp, and lobster. While the cero mackerel relishes the opportunity to hunt its prey, it also makes use of the nearby aquatic ecosystem.
This implies that it will take advantage of schools of fish that are easier to catch and that are closer to the surface. They are ferocious hunters who frequently force their prey into small groups so that they are easier to catch.
They hunt more frequently near the water’s surface and have varying feeding schedules. Cero mackerel fishing has also been observed to be more successful at full moons, as well as in the early and late hours of the day.
Interesting Facts About The Cero Mackerel
- The “painted mackerel” is another name for the cero mackerel.
- The cero mackerel is a swift predator who takes pleasure in pursuing prey.
- Squid and shrimp are also part of the cero mackerel’s diet.
- Larger predators like sharks, dolphins, and tuna hunt the cero mackerel as a prey fish.
- During a spawning season, females produce externally fertilized eggs that range in size from 160,000 to 2.23 million.
- Often referred to as the best mackerel due to their high sport rating and superior eating quality,
- There have been reports of 21 known parasite hosts among cero mackerel.
- It is a fish fit for sushi and is frequently used in sashimi and ceviche.
- Since they are filled with oily drops, eggs float in the water.
- It takes 4 to 6 days for the egg to hatch. Only a small portion of eggs will hatch because different sea creatures eat them.
- At birth, larvae are very small. Throughout their first few days of life, they eat only the remaining yolk.
- The lifespan of mackerel is very long. They are only capable of living for 25 years in the wild.
To put it briefly, every species exhibits distinctive social behavior. Some species live alone, while others prefer to live in pairs or small groups, and still, others gather in large numbers. These fish occasionally congregate only near areas with plentiful food sources when they normally live alone.
Mackerel come in a variety of sizes, from little forage fish to big game fish. Large coastal mackerel are uncommon. One example of a larger mackerel is the king mackerel.
These fish are not typically kept in aquariums. They eat voraciously and need a lot of room to swim. In order to comply with this requirement, schools must only house larger species that they cannot consume and must maintain enormous tanks with plenty of swimming space.
Frequently Asked Questions
#1 – What is the difference between king mackerel and mackerel?
Both fish have long, slender bodies, forked tails, and bronze spots all over their bodies. King mackerels do not have a black spot on their first dorsal fin, but Spanish mackerels do. The lateral line below the second dorsal fin also exhibits a noticeable dip in the king mackerel.
#2 – Is king mackerel good to eat?
Kingfish are an excellent choice for slow and careful low-temperature smoking because they produce large, thick fillets and have a tendency to be oily.
King mackerel is deliciously seasoned and smoked, not dried over citrus, hickory, oak, or other types of wood. Kingfish are also delicious right off the grill.
#3 – What is the best type of mackerel to eat?
Whitefish is leaner and less oily than mackerel, which is also high in healthy fats. Choose the lower mercury Atlantic or smaller mackerel varieties instead of the high mercury king mackerel.
#4 – Can I eat king mackerel every day?
Albacore tuna is recommended as a “once-weekly choice” by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).
The FDA also advises against eating king mackerel, which is a high-mercury fish, while Atlantic mackerel is low in mercury and safe to eat two or more times per week.
#5 – Is Spanish mackerel good to eat?
Spanish mackerel, a particularly tasty fish, yields a plate-sized cutlet or a fillet that is essentially boneless.
Mackerel is a versatile fish that can be fried, baked, poached, grilled, marinated, smoked, and barbecued; some people in the South Pacific and Asia think it makes the best barbecue fish.
#6 – Do Spanish mackerel have scales?
Spanish mackerel have a belly, silver sides, and a greenish back. They have incredibly small scales covering them. They are covered in oval spots that are yellow or olive green.
#7 – Where does the best mackerel come from?
The pelagic species is another name for the cero mackerel. This species is found in Iceland and Norway, with the highest rates per kilogram on the global markets. They also have a huge export volume.
#8 – Is mackerel high in mercury?
Mackerel Atlantic and Atka mackerel from Alaska are high in inflammation-fighting omega-3s, and low in mercury, but not all mackerel get a thumbs-up. King mackerel from the Western Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico has a high mercury content.
#9 – What is the limit on Spanish mackerel in Florida?
Both the Gulf and Atlantic migratory groups have a 15 fish per person bag limit year-round. State and federal bag limits cannot be combined.
#10 – Where can I get mackerel in Miami?
Along the inshore patch reefs, where they pursue shoals of ballyhoo, cero mackerel are fairly common. These aggressive game fish are readily identifiable by the bathing baitfish. Getting along with the ballyhoo schools is a common way to bring in ceros.
The fun can start once the balls have been nailed. Once you get them going, mackerel fishing in Miami can be incredibly exciting.
The 5–10 lb ceros get into a brawl as they go airborne in pursuit of the agitated baitfish when you drift back live ballyhoo on light tackle.