Here in the Gulf of Chiriquí and around Hannibal Bank, mackerel fish are very common among sportfishermen and also great to eat. These are fun fish to catch and an excellent goal for anglers of all skill levels

Here’s what you need to know about mackerel fishing and how to catch a Spanish mackerel fish when you go on a Panama fishing trip.

What Is a Mackerel?

A mackerel is a pelagic fish from the Scombridae family that mostly lives along coastlines or offshore in the ocean. Mackerels are found in temperate, moderate waters, and there are dozens of species of fish that are classified as mackerels.

This type of fish is generally round with a slender body or has a torpedo-like shape. The fish’s body also has stripes and is luminescent. Mackerels are carnivorous fish that travel in large schools and that are known for diving at fast speeds. This fish can live for over a 10 years in its natural habitat.

Types of Mackerel Around Panama

The primary type of mackerel fish that we catch around Panama is the Sierra Mackerel, which is also known as the Spanish Mackerel. This is an inshore species of fish that is relatively small and usually weighs only about 10 pounds. But don’t let this fish’s size fool you because mackerels can be quite aggressive and pull hard when they latch onto a bait!

How to Catch a Mackerel

We often catch mackerel fish near submerged rocks and around the many islands in our area. Locals love to catch mackerels to eat them, but we often catch them as casting swimbaits while looking for Roosterfish and Cubera Snapper.

Anchovies or sardines are good mackerel bait, and we often catch them using slow trolling baits. This type of mackerel is attracted to shiny lures and topwater lures; however, small poppers may work as well. The waters around Panama are well-suited for mackerel fishing, and a good time of year to catch them is between February and September.

Mackerel Fishing Tips

If you’re looking to learn how to catch a Spanish Mackerel, we can help! We offer Boca Chica, Panama fishing charters and VIP sport fishing packages to book your trip.

Sierra Mackerel are delicious to eat when fresh and work wonderfully in tacos and ceviche. But when you stay at our Panama sport fishing lodge, you can leave the cooking to our expert chef who knows all of the best ways to prepare mackerel.

To get you excited for your upcoming adventure, here are some other mackerel fishing tips to keep in mind once you get out on the water:

  • Stick to the coastline areas
  • Look for mackerel by shoals of sprats near water’s edge
  • Wait until warm weather for more abundant mackerel
  • Try using a string of Sabiki Bait lures
  • Target mackerel with feathers
  • Reduce your hook size because mackerel have small mouths