Cero, Painted mackerel, Sierra pintada, Spotted cero, King mackerel, Black-spotted spanish mackerel
The Cero Mackerel resembles the Spanish Mackerel as it has yellowish spots but it can be distinguished by its orange and dark stripes or streaks across the fish. The pectoral fins also have scales on them and the dorsal fin is a deep blue.
Habitat & Behaviour
Cero Mackerel can be found in clear water surrounding structures like coral reefs. Cero Mackerel are usually found by themselves or in small groups unlike other schooling mackerel.
The Cero Mackerel subsists on small fish, cephalopods, and shrimp and is known for its speedy predatory behavior.
With the a very sharp teeth you definitely want to keep fingers away from its mouth. Larger ones you can gaff behind head or grab by tail and throw ‘em in, smaller ones net. Handle with a rag if you plan to keep them, if not don’t wipe slime off them. Grab behind the head with a wet rag (into the gills) pinch with index finger and thumb. If harvesting, good tip to completely cover in ice (don’t just lay on top of ice in cooler). Add ice to salt water – makes a brine – very cold – will freeze your fish (not hard) but firms the meat up nicely for easy filleting.