• Scientific Name:                       Clupea pallasii


  • Habitat:  Pacific mackerel usually live within 20 miles offshore in water ranging from 50 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. When the population is small, they tend to occupy only the warmer part of their habitat.  Juveniles live off sandy beaches, around kelp beds, and in open bays. Adults are found near shallow banks from the surface to waters almost 1,000 feet deep


  • Diet: Pacific mackerel feed on   plankton (tiny floating plants and animals) and the younger stages of all the pelagic species such as anchovy and sardine, as well as their own young


  • Size: Up to 25 inches and more than 6 pounds.


  • Range:  Off the west coast of North America, Pacific mackerel is found from southeastern Alaska to Mexico but is most common south of Point Conception, California.



Pacific Mackerel


Also known as the Chub Mackerel

Photo: fishingwithrod.com


The Meat:

BBQ, Broil, bake, or fillet and pickle. If a bold flavor of the seven seas is a problem, you won't like mackerel. The flesh is wonderfully oily and tastes like a fish is supposed to taste, ie: like fish. Personally this is one of my three favorite fish to eat.


All mackerel will either arrive as whole fish that you will need to head and gut of fillet, or pre-headed and gutted by me. I prefer not having to do this as it takes many hours, to do all the orders this way, so if you actually prefer getting your fish whole, by all means let me know!


2010 - present

2010 - present

Mackerel stocks are considered to be doing very well. This fish is primarily caught as bycatch by the squid seining fleet. It is rarely targetted specifically. If they ever show up near shore in our area they can be caught by hook and line or by Hawaiian casting net. This hasn't happened as of this writing, (in our first 10 months of existence) but I'm keeping my fins crossed.

Gear and fishery info:

Mackerel are just about the healthiest fish you could possibly eat. They do not live long enough to bioaccumulate toxins and are exceedingly high in omega 3 fatty acids.

Health concerns:

These guys are one of the mainstays of pier fishermen in Southern California, and when we get them in the SF area it always feels like a small miracle. I've been hoping we'll see more of them than usual this year due to the predicted El Nino, but thus far in 2014 they haven't moved north of Santa Cruz.

Fish Nerdism 101:

The tiger-like stripes on the back of the mackerel are an evolutionary adaptation that mimics the dappling effect of waves and sun, camoflaging the mackerel from predatory birds diving on them from above.

Parting Shots