Scad (Trachurus trachurus)

Irish Record 1.97lb taken on 6.09.1986 by R.McCarthy at Clonakilty.

Specimen 1.5lb, or 0.680 kilo, or 44cm total length


Scad are a stream-lined shoaling fish, with large eyes and silver flanks leading on to a blue-black, sometimes blue-green back. It has two dorsal fins, the first is spiked, the second is softer and the anal fin is a mirror image of the second dorsal fin. It has long, pointed pectorals and a raised, scaly lateral line running from the head to the tail. This is quite sharp if you run your finger along it, from tail to head, not advisable!

Where to catch

Scad are a shoaling fish and are found all around Ireland, usually around or amongst shoals of Mackerel. Their large eyes would suggest that they hunt in deeper water, and I have found this to be the case on many occasions, taking Scad all along the Antrim Coast and in the deep venues behind the Maiden Islands out of Larne. Personally, I have taken Scad at Killybegs on the west coast, on many venues in North Donegal, the Antrim Coast, County Down, Wexford and many marks out of Cork Harbour, which shows they are widespread throughout the Irish in-shore coastal waters.

When to catch

Scad can be caught from summer through to late autumn and into the start of winter, something similar to the migratory patterns of the Mackerel.


They are known to take almost any small bait, usually feathers or Hockai’s etc baited with fresh Mackerel strip. Scad can be used for bait if Mackerel are scarce.


This species, it is fair to say, is normally taken by accident whist targeting Mackerel for bait-fish, or sometimes while catching Whiting and Codling over deep-water sand banks. Most Scad are therefore taken on feathers, baited feathers or baited spoon rigs.

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