Atlantic Horse Mackerel - Trachurus Trachurus
Latin: Trachurus Trachurus
English: Atlantic Horse Mackerel
German: Die Bastard- oder Holzmakrele, Stöcker, Suri
French: Le Chinchard
Italian: Il Sugarello, Suro
Spanish: El Chicharro, Jurel, Escribano
Croatian: Šnjur, Sirun, Šklapavac, Širun
About: The Atlantic Horse Mackerel - Trachurus Trachurus - is a jack mackerel species in the family Carangidae. It has elongated, hydrodynamic body with distinct lateral line.
Color varies from dark blue-green back to gray-silver on sides and below. Maximum recorded length is around 70cm, but commonly grows up to 40cm.
Head is large, with large eye and large mouth - great for feeding on smaller fish like herring or sprat, crustaceans and cephalopods.
Habitat:The Atlantic horse mackerel can be found in the north-eastern Atlantic, in the Mediterranean and in the Black Sea.
Horse mackerel live in large to very large schools, especially in the summer, relatively near the coast - above sandy bottoms at depths between 30-70m. It can be commonly found near the surface when feeding.
In the winter, it prefers deeper waters - up to 500 meters.
Fishing period: Although this is very important commercial fish, in recreational fishing warmer months are preferred time of year, especially in the evening and early in the morning when it can be found feeding. Depending on location, it can strike a bait or small lure all day long, even during summer heat.
However, fishing is much better when the sun is relatively low on the horizon.
Fishing rigs and tackle: During colder months, it can be caught (although not so often) on deep sea long line or rod and reel. On some locations, it can be caught trolling even during cold months.
But, during warmer months, it is commonly present near the shores and in the channels between islands and mainland in large schools. Then party begins :)
When found in schools, it can be caught in large numbers by trolling using live or dead bait and artificial lures. Some types of trolling rigs have several hooks (each with a lure) and in the single pass, several fishes can be caught easily.
Sometimes, schools of Atlantic Horse Mackerel are near schools (or even mixed) of other similar mackerel species.
Note: When trolling, be sure to have a rod and reel with suitable bait prepared (if you are trolling without rod and reel - I often do this, don't ask why ...). When fish is caught on one line, all trolling lines are pulled slowly toward boat since strike can occur even very closely to the boat - empty lines are reeled in first, of course. So, while fish is still in the water, other fishermen can use rod and reel to cast bait in the direction of caught fish. There is great chance that school of the fish is near by and strike on new bait/lure is very possible.
After fish is landed in the boat, turn around the boat toward strike position and be prepared for new catch.
Also, chumming with chunks of fish can help in keeping school near by - in that situation, rod and reel equipped with simple float (live prawns anyone?) can make a massacre :)
Cuisine: Meat is tasty, although sometimes not so valued as meat of other mackerel species.
It can be barbequed or used for great fish stew. Smaller specimen are fried.
In some countries, Atlantic Horse Mackerel is gutted 'from above' and even its bones are removed. Such fish is smoked for day or two and then prepared as usual - this way great aroma of smoked fish can be combined with olive oil, parsley and other herbs in a culinary delicacy.