46kg, G Pickering, Western Australia, 2004
Indonesia, Fiji, Australia, Africa
The spanish mackerel (there's a bit of name confusion here as there's an Atlantic version found around America so the southern version that we're discussing is sometimes called a king mackerel or narrow barred spanish mackerel or couta or mackie or tenggiri...) is a long streamlined fish that looks very similar to a wahoo. It's easily distinguished though by its ragged teeth and lightening bolt lateral line. It certainly looks more ferocious than a wahoo anyway.
FEEDING HABITS & HABITAT:
The spaniard is a neretic pelagic fish meaning that while it is pelagic in that it constantly migrates following food rather than remaining resident on a specific reef, it won't cross the deep water on continental shelves like true pelagics such as wahoo or tuna. This means it's found on archipelagos and continents but not atolls like the Cook Islands where it would have to cross thousands of miles of deep water to get to. It hunts the reef edges for smaller fish and squid.
Spanish mackerel respond very well to flashers and that's how most divers target them. Otherwise like all reef edge predators they will come in to check out a diver with a good enough bottom time to wait them out.
Spanish mackerel are not particularly flighty and will let a diver approach them if you're careful. You can slowly fin behind them, gradually closing the gap and waiting for them to turn broadside to look at you and offer a clear shot.
They are very soft fleshed and have an unusually big stomach cavity that offers very little for a spear to hold onto. For this reason the preferred shot is mid body between the dorsal and anal fins or even further back.
They fight very hard and are great fun to hunt.