About Sport Fish you will find in our sunny tropical paradise
Narrow-barred Spanish Mackerel
Scomberomorus Commerson a.k.a. Tenggiri batang, Tohok, Dengkeh, Narrow-striped King Mackerel
Locally known as the Tenggiri Batang, the Narrow-Barred Spanish Mackerel is a pelagic fish well known for its spectacular bursts of high speed! After hitting a lure or bait, this mackerel better described as a line "sizzler" or "burner" will take off at high speed, ! The smaller fish below 10 kgs will normally give only one good run, before performing a short boat side struggle. The bigger fish will often give a second or third run, before exhausting itself.
On one occasion, I drifted out a live bait in the evening. The current was so strong that I did not have to use a balloon to keep the live bait near the surface. Dinner was served so I went to the "kitchen" to get my share before it was all gone. Before I could dig into the food, I was alerted by my fellow anglers that something had taken off with my bait. Knowing that it was running near the surface I calmly picked up the rod, set the hook and let the tenggiri continue its long run.
When it slowed down I started applying pressure by pumping the rod and cranking the reel. I could feel it turn and begin to head sideways, still near the surface. After a few moments I could feel a little scraping and the line went slack. Only then I remembered that some distance behind the boat was a reef! I should have kept that in mind. Then I would have applied pressure sooner (not increasing the drag as many mistakenly do, but by pumping the rod and reel), turning it before it reached the reef. So the price I paid for my forgetfulness was to retrieve a frayed mainline instead of a nice spanish mackerel!
Spanish mackerel are normally found hanging around reefs or rocky out crops, where schools of bait fish are located. They like clean and clear waters, so they generally won't be found around murky estuaries, but around offshore islands and reefs.
The smaller spanish mackerel can often be found in schools. Then multiple hook ups while trolling are the order of the day! There is nothing like the sound of a reel's ratchet starting to scream one by one within seconds to get the adrenalin running! When this happens there will be a lot of commotion with everyone scrambling to get to their rods and reels. The gaff man will be kept real busy landing fish. Normally the last few fish landed will be the biggest fish, as they will run the furthest, assuming the tackle used are approximately the same category. The large spanish mackerel are loners, hunting alone. Thus it is not so common to get many big spanish mackerel at the same location.
Almost any live bait like selar, kembung, cincaru or kerisi works, but even dead whole bait can succeed. When using dead bait some anglers often use ganged hooks, as the tenggiri often can take clean bites of the bait, just missing the hook. For live bait, sometimes an extra hook is rigged to hang below the main hook as a stinger hook. On the other hand, keeping things simple by just using a single hook has obvious advantages too, i.e. less exposed metal and easier to rig, but then different techniques work well in different areas.
Tight action lipped lures attract the most strikes from the spanish mackerel. Bibless high speed lures and skirted lures are effective at high trolling speeds, although most people won't use skirts to target for spanish mackerel as the soft skirts will be ruined by the razor sharp teeth!
Because of their row of fine razor sharp teeth the use of wire leaders is essential. Even with "dead" spanish mackerel, it's advisable to stay away from those jaws! I have had my finger cut by a dead and frozen tenggiri, when I was showing somebody its razor sharp teeth. I just lightly brushed against the teeth while I opened its jaws, and had a gash from its razor sharp teeth. So always be vigilant, even when the tenggiri is dead.
The spanish mackerel is highly valued for its meat and is a very popular catch for the table by anglers.