Mackerels are among the best game fish and eating fish in the world. Mackerel is the general name used to describe over 30 species of fish in the Scombridae family. They are fast-moving fish that live in tropical seas and temperate climates, and they share certain characteristics, such as being torpedo-shaped and carnivorous. Mackerel is also a delicious fish to eat and a healthy source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Here are descriptions of common types of mackerel and ideas for how to catch your own mackerel for sport or to eat.

King Mackerel

King mackerel are large and aggressive fish that are much bigger than other types of mackerel. These fish live along the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, featuring pale to dusky fins, gray backs, and silvery sides and bellies.

Spanish Mackerel

Spanish mackerel is a common inshore catch and often found along the Atlantic Coast and Gulf Coast of the U.S. There is a line that runs down this fish’s side that drops gradually on the Spanish mackerel. These fish have a greenish back, silver sides and bellies, and yellow or olive green spots all over.

Atlantic Mackerel

The Atlantic mackerel is a tasty fish that is slim and has wavy lines along its back. These fish also have a spindle-shaped body that tapers at both ends, gray and large dorsal fins, and an iridescent blue-green color on the back.

Cero Mackerel

Cero mackerel fish have yellow markings on their sides and bronze stripes down the center. They also have a blue-green back and blue-black blotch on the front of the first dorsal fin.

Sierra Mackerel

The Sierra mackerel is a common fish we catch on our Boca Chica fishing charters. These small mackerels are only up to about 10 pounds, but they are still challenging to catch because they are aggressive and pull hard. We usually catch these fish while targeting roosterfish and Cubera snapper.

Chub Mackerel

The chub mackerel weighs up to 3.5 pounds and is 22 inches long. They are silver in color and have green-blue backs, as well as small spines on the dorsal fin.

Atlantic Horse Mackerel

Another one of the types of mackerel is the Atlantic Horse Mackerel, a slender fish with a long, narrow body and larger head. They are about 3.3 pounds on average and have a silver appearance with seven spines on the first dorsal fin.


Wahoo fish are closely related to king mackerels and Spanish mackerels, and they are delicious to eat. You can recognize a characteristically strong and fast wahoo by its long crest along the back and gaping open mouth while out of water.

Fish for Mackerel in Panama with Us!

Among the best places in the world to catch mackerel are the Gulf of Chiriquí and Hannibal Bank, just off the coast of Panama. We will show you everything we know about our local types of mackerel and set you up in our unique sport fishing lodge for accommodations.

Contact us today to book your mackerel fishing trip in Panama!