What Is The Difference Between King Mackerel And Mackerel?

Both are long, slender fish with a forked tail and bronze-colored spots on the body. But the Spanish mackerel features a black spot on the first dorsal fin that the king mackerel lacks. Also, the king mackerel has a pronounced dip in the lateral line below the second dorsal fin.

While there are many different gamefish in the sea, mackerel is a favorite among anglers. King Mackerel vs. Spanish Mackerel Mackerel is a well-liked game fish that can be found all over the world, but it is most frequently abundant in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Anglers seeking adventure frequently catch both Spanish and King Mackerel. Although there are more differences between these species than similarities, understanding the differences is more crucial. In addition to the lateral lines, the dorsal fins are distinctive. Because the regulations for the two species are different, it is crucial to be able to distinguish between them. As a result, learning the differences will help you to be a responsible angler and prevent paying arbitrary fines.

Since the two fish species have so many variations, it is fortunately not always easy for anglers to distinguish between them. Although there are many similarities between the species, there are also distinctive differences. To start, in most places, a Spanish Mackerel must be at least 12 inches long and a King Mackerel must be 24 inches long. The typical length of a king mackerel in Texas is 27 inches. Even though going to jail is unlikely, you should still become knowledgeable about the two species. The striking differences in the two species’ gorgeous colorations are another obvious distinction. The King Mackerel is larger and has a more intense shade of olive green. The Spanish Mackerel is smaller and a lighter green color.

The King Mackerel, which is the larger of the two species, has a variety of colors. King Mackerel is an olive-green fish with a white underbelly, a large dorsal fin on top, and a dark forked tail. It has been caught in waters from North Carolina to Brazil.

The King Mackerel, also known as a Kingfish, is a large, ferocious fish that is a favorite among anglers. The body of a kingfish is long and slender, with a silvery, olive back and rosy iridescence on the sides.

Why Learn About the Difference, Anyway?

Two of the most widely consumed game fish species worldwide are the King and Spanish Mackerel. In the Atlantic Coast and the Gulf, they are numerous and easily caught.

Furthermore, some anglers might not be able to distinguish between the two because of how similar these fish are, but does it really matter?

Yes, it matters because there are different fishing laws for each species of fish, and you wouldn’t want to get caught breaking the law and have to pay a steep fine. In addition, some anglers may find it embarrassing to misidentify the species of fish, especially when bragging about it to their fellow anglers.

Before highlighting its differences, let’s first tackle their tricky similarities.

First of all, they are different in size, but young King Mackerel are also the same size as grown-up Spanish Mackerel, making them difficult to distinguish at times.

The sides of the Spanish Mackerel’s bodies are also dotted with three rows of elliptical sides. Until they are fully grown, the King Mackerel does not. Although the juvenile King Mackerel has similar yellow spots, they age and their color fades or changes to a leopard-like pattern.

But you should. Fishing regulations for Kings and Spaniards are completely different, so you better understand how to tell them apart if you don’t want to pay a hefty fine for exceeding your size and bag limits. In light of this, we’ve created this brief guide to distinguishing King Mackerel from other fish. Spanish Mackerel.

Among the most well-liked game fish in the nation are the Spanish and King Mackerel. Both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are equally rich in these silvery, long, and slender fish. Given how similar they are, it would be simple to catch both without realizing you were carrying two different fish.

Additionally, the sides of Spanish Mackerel are covered in three rows of elliptical yellow spots. King Mackerel don’t, at least when they’re fully grown. Juvenile Kings, however, boast these very same yellow spots. When King Mackerel mature, their spots either lose their color or morph into a leopard-like pattern.

As we mentioned, the regulations are different. Only 12 inches is the required minimum size for Spanish Mackerel. For Kings, it’s 24 and above (in Texas, it’s 27). State-specific bag limits vary, but you can typically anticipate them to be 15 Spanish mackerel and one to three king mackerel.

Let’s say you get away without a fine. When you return from your outing, you are eager to show off how much fun you had. You upload a photo of yourself holding a keeper Spanish mackerel to social media. The problem is that everyone can see that you are actually holding a tiny Kingfish rather than a keeper Spanish Mackerel.

How Much King Mackerel and Atlantic Mackerel Cost

Depending on how the fish are caught and where they are sold, the prices will change. Make sure to read the label when buying any fish to determine whether it was farmed or caught in the wild. Therefore, which fish costs more, king mackerel or Atlantic mackerel?.

The cost per pound of king mackerel and Atlantic mackerel fillets is comparable. Whole Atlantic mackerel fish costs $15. 98 per pound. Whole king mackerel fish costs $13. 12 per pound.

I checked the Fulton fish market online for prices:

  • Wild king mackerel fillet
    • $18.97 per pound
  • Wild whole king mackerel
    • $13.12 per pound
  • Wild whole Atlantic mackerel
    • $15.98 per pound
  • I also checked Citarella online for prices:

  • Whole Atlantic mackerel fish
    • $10.80 per pound
  • To save some money on fresh seafood, would you believe some can be purchased on Amazon? Check out their current prices and selection, Fresh Seafood.


    Is king mackerel bigger than mackerel?

    The current range of the king mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla) is comparable to that of the Spanish mackerel, but larger. From Massachusetts to Brazil, the Atlantic coast of the Americas is home to king mackerel. The name “king” for this species refers to both appearance and biology.

    Which type of mackerel is the best?

    Alaskan Atlantic and Atka mackerel are high in anti-inflammatory omega-3s and low in mercury, but not all mackerel is recommended. King mackerel from the Gulf of Mexico and Western Atlantic Ocean has a high mercury content. Due to concerns about mercury, Zumpano suggests limiting Spanish mackerel as well.

    How can you tell a king mackerel?

    King Mackerel
    1. The belly and sides are silvery, and the back is bluish-green (without any spots).
    2. Front of first dorsal fin lacks a dark blotch.
    3. Lateral line drops sharply below the second dorsal fin.
    4. Juveniles may have yellowish spots, similar to Spanish mackerel.

    Are king mackerel good to eat?

    King Mackerel is a fish with dark flesh that is oily and bursting with flavor. Get it fresh, prepare it quickly, and serve it to a table of satisfied diners. This is a venerable Florida staple. This is most likely how King Mackerel has been prepared anywhere it is served.

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