Striped horse mackerel is a high-class fish with excellent sashimi! When is the best season and what is the price?

The striped horse mackerel is a big horse mackerel, and especially the wild ones are treated as high-class fish. First, let me introduce the ecology and characteristics of striped jack.

classificationGenus Perciformes
Japanese nameStriped jack
scientific namePseudocaranx dentex
distributionPacific coast south of Iwate Prefecture, Sea of Japan coast south of Niigata Prefecture, Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan
featureThe body height is high and laterally flattened. There is a single yellow vertical band on the body. Grows to about 1m in length.

Characteristics of striped horse mackerel


The striped jack is distributed in warm subtropical to temperate seas around the world, except for the eastern Pacific Ocean. In Japan, it can be seen on the Sea of Japan side south of Niigata Prefecture, but it is common on the Pacific Ocean side south of the Tohoku region. They inhabit coastal areas up to a depth of about 200m and face the open ocean, and live in groups in the middle to lower layers.

It eats animals, and preys on polychaetes, crustaceans, and small fish by sucking in the surrounding seawater and sand. The spawning season in the waters near Japan is from late autumn to winter. After laying isolated floating eggs, the juvenile fish after hatching form flocks, and at times the flocks can grow to more than 1000 individuals. However, as they grow, their scale shrinks, and when they become large individuals, they can be seen acting alone.

Origin of name

Striped horse mackerel is written in kanji as ``shima mackerel'' and ``shima mackerel,'' each of which has its own origin. First of all, about "shima mackerel", this is derived from the pattern of this species. This species has a single vertical yellow stripe in the center of its body while it is alive or when it is fresh, hence the name "shima mackerel". By the way, one of the English names is "Striped jack" (Stripe means stripe), and it is named with the pattern in mind even in the English-speaking world. Next, "island horse mackerel" is derived from the place where it is caught. Wild horse mackerel is often caught on islands such as the Izu Islands, hence the name "island horse mackerel".

The price of striped horse mackerel

The price of striped trevally varies greatly between wild and farmed trevally. Currently, farmed products are stably supplied, so they are sometimes lined up in retail stores such as supermarkets, but wild products are treated as high-end fish because of the small catches and are rarely seen at retail stores. As for the market price, while farmed products cost around 2,000 yen per kilogram, natural products can also be priced at around 5,000 to 10,000 yen. Striped horse mackerel is classified as a medium-sized individual weighing 2 to 3 kg because of its size.

Is striped horse mackerel a success fish?

Shimaji also has many local names and aliases without exception. The representative ones are “Hiraaji (Kumamoto)” and “Koseaji (Kochi)”, but the Izu Islands are also called “Wolf”. The Izu Islands are a traditional production area for wild striped horse mackerel, and the name is used especially for large individuals. However, because it is a regional thing and the same name has not spread elsewhere, striped horse mackerel is generally not considered a success fish.

Maximum length of striped jack

The striped horse mackerel is known to be one of the largest types of horse mackerel, with the largest recorded being 122 cm long and weighing 18.1 kg. Of course, it is rare to grow to this size, and even the largest wild specimens that are usually seen are about 1m, and farmed specimens are shipped at even smaller sizes of about 40cm.

Difference between striped jack and other horse mackerel

The striped jack has characteristics in terms of shape as well as size. Here, we will introduce the differences between striped jack and other horse mackerel.

horse mackerel

Differences from Japanese horse mackerel appear in the length, body shape, and patterns. First of all, regarding the length of the horse mackerel, the maximum length is about 40 cm, while the striped horse mackerel is a large species that can grow to over 1 m as mentioned above. As for the body shape of the Japanese jack mackerel, it has a long and slender spindle shape, while the striped jack has a tall body and is tallest near the center of the body when viewed from the side, giving it a rugby ball-like silhouette. Finally, regarding the pattern, the yellow stripes that are characteristic of striped jacks are not seen in them.


Regarding the difference from the sparrow, the length, body shape, body color, pattern, etc. are checkpoints. First of all, the maximum body length of the sparrow is about 40 cm, which is smaller than the striped jack. Next, in terms of body shape, kaiwari are taller than striped trevally and have a form similar to that seen in red sea bream and other sea bream. In terms of body color and pattern, kaiwari are silver overall, and do not have the patterns seen in striped trevally. In addition, the color of the fins and the elabuta are also points of distinction. The striped jack has yellow pectoral fins and tail fins, whereas the kaiwari does not have such characteristics. As for elabuta, clear black spots can be seen on striped jack, but not on kaiwari.

bigeye trevally

Differences from bigeye trevally appear in the size of the eyes, patterns, and the shape and color of the fins. First of all, the eye of the bigeye jack is larger and closer to the snout. Next, regarding the pattern, the yellow striped pattern seen in striped trevally is not seen in bigeye trevally. Finally, regarding the shape and color of the fins, the front ends of the second dorsal and anal fins of the bigeye trevally are sickle-shaped, a feature not found in the striped trevally. The fin color of striped trevally is yellow, while bigeye trevally is black to dark gray.

When is striped horse mackerel season?

As mentioned earlier, there is currently a stable supply of farmed fish, so although this fish is available all year round, it is in season from summer to autumn. This is because the spawning season for striped jacks is mainly in winter, which is the time when they store up nutrients for that period and their bodies are enriched. By the way, small ones are generally farmed, so the taste doesn't change much and you can eat them deliciously all year round.

Fresh striped horse mackerel is excellent as sashimi!

fresh striped horse mackerel

It is said that striped horse mackerel has much more fat than horse mackerel, and its meat quality is similar to that of yellowtail. Therefore, fresh ones are suitable for eating raw, and sashimi is especially excellent. Regarding the taste, the evaluation differs between natural products and farmed products. The former is highly acclaimed for its moderately fatty and elegant flavor, but the latter tends to be over-nutrition, and some people find it to be greasy. However, it can be said that this is also a matter of taste, so even farmed products are in constant demand.

Other delicious striped horse mackerel recipes (how to eat)

Striped horse mackerel can be deliciously cooked in various ways besides sashimi. Here, we will introduce typical dishes of Shimaaji.


Striped horse mackerel can also be used to make a good soup stock, so it is recommended that you do not throw away the leftovers from sashimi, etc., but instead use them as waste. After lightly blanching the ara before using it, drop it in cold water and remove the slime and scales. By doing so, the odor will be eliminated, and you will end up with a more delicious arajiru.


Because sashimi is delicious, you can also enjoy it very deliciously as nigiri sushi. In particular, the wild striped horse mackerel nigiri sushi is exquisite and, together with the rarity of natural products, is a high-end sushi ingredient, and it is often not even handled at general stores. The threshold for farmed products is slightly lower, but it is still a high-class material. As for the taste, it tends to be evaluated as being greasy compared to natural products, but some people seem to appreciate its rich taste.


Fresh striped horse mackerel is suitable for eating raw, so it is also delicious as a carpaccio. Perhaps because it has a strong umami flavor, it goes well with tomatoes and other vegetables and herbs, bringing out the flavors of each other. In addition, although farmed products are divided into likes and dislikes due to their strong fat, some people say that carpaccio with citrus fruits is refreshing and more delicious than sashimi.

grilled with salt

Salt-grilled fish is a classic fish dish, but it goes well with striped horse mackerel. The flesh of striped horse mackerel does not harden even when cooked, and becomes plump and delicious. In particular, for those who do not like the strong fat of farmed fish, it will be easier to eat if the fat is removed to some extent by grilling. Sprinkle salt before baking, let it sit for a certain amount of time, and drain the excess water to make it delicious.

How to catch striped trevally

Striped trevally is a fish that can be caught all year round, but the places where it is easier to catch change depending on the season. From summer to autumn, they actively gather food in preparation for spawning. Conversely, from winter to spring, they are often offshore, so they are often targeted from boats.

In either case, it is common to scatter komase to attract striped trevally, and in the case of boat fishing, it is popular to use a wheelie rig using a plabisi, and in the case of fishing from the shore, a basket fishing using a tenbin is popular. The basic configuration of boat fishing is a wheelie rig that uses a special Shakuri rod, a medium-sized double-axis reel, PE 4 to 5 line, and Plabisi 60 to 80 gimmick as mentioned above.

Also read:  How to choose a fish knife and recommended 5 selections! Use it properly and cook deliciously!

Basket fishing also uses a long-casting surf rod, a medium-sized spinning reel, a line equivalent to nylon No. 5 or 6, and a ten-bin basket for long-casting. The basic bait is krill and mysid shrimp, both for komase and attached bait. The striped jack has a weak mouth and often comes loose due to a sharp mouth, so the trick is to slowly match the bite and make full use of the drag.

Natural products are surprisingly high-class fish! Attractive big fish striped horse mackerel!

The striped horse mackerel is a large horse mackerel, with a maximum size of about 1.2 m and a normal size of around 1 m. Because it prefers warm seas, it is mostly caught on the Pacific side of Japan, and is mainly caught in southern Japan such as the Izu Islands. Striped horse mackerel is known to be a very tasty fish, and wild fish is a high-class fish that can be priced at 10,000 yen per kilogram. In particular, the sashimi is exquisite, so please try it once.

Striped horse mackerel is sashimi