Jack mackerel form dense schools over the continental shelf and are found from the surface to depths up to 450 metres. They feed on small krill and other plankton. They are mainly caught in bays and coastal areas around Tasmania. Common under lighted wharf and jetty areas open to the sea or tidal movement, particularly on Tasmania’s east and south coast during the warmer summer and autumn months.
Jack mackerel can be caught on a wide variety of baits including fish, raw chicken, squid and small baitfish. They will also take small flies and soft plastic or artificial lures set up to resemble a small fish. Jack mackerel are often found with a marine parasite in their mouth attached to their gill rakers which though unsightly, does not affect the eating quality of the fish.
Jack mackerel have sharp spines at the base of the anal fin and on the dorsal fin.
An underrated fish which can be prepared in various ways. Available practically all year round, it has a high oil content, firm texture and medium flavour. The dark flesh becomes lighter when cooked. Can be used as fillets, smoked, whole. Suitable to barbeque, foil, bake, grill, marinate, smoke, souse. Popular smoked or as roll mops pickled in brine or vinegar.
4 mackerel; 2 tbsp tomato paste; salt and pepper; 2 tsp paprika; 1/3 cup spring onions, chopped; juice of ½ lemon; 1 cup sour cream, parsley.
Spread each fish with tomato paste. Place into a greased ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and half the paprika. Mix spring onions and lemon juice into the sour cream. Spoon over the fish, cover and bake in a moderate 180°C oven for 25 minutes or until fish is cooked. Sprinkle with remainder of paprika and garnish with parsley.