TABBY CAT SMI wrote a post last year called Mackerel Time and it’s that time a year again when the Mackerel start to run, when the men and the boys(mostly though some of us ladies go out too)are seen travelling on foot and by bike out the Cliff Road to the rocks at the Guillamene and crossing the fields with their rods and buckets…but you can read all about that in last years post.

I knew the time had come again when I was in next door last night and just before I left a plate piled with fillets was put in my hand and breakfast lunch and dinner were sorted which was a relief as there is a lot going on this week and I am a wee bit tired. Not only that they provided me with my post for today, the third in an ill~advised 5 Day Challenge.

I always find the colour and the patterns on mackerel fascinating, I always want to paint them. This time for the first time it occurred to me that the pale lines were like the tracks of worms we see on autumn leaves or on shells and rocks and I wondered if worms were somehow involved in the pigmentation, an unappetizing thought so I did a (very tiny) amount of research. I found Mackerel Skies which I knew about and Mackerel Tabby Cats which I didn’t (well I didn’t know they were called that)and wondered why the fish gave their name to them rather than thee other way about. Tabby Fish anyone?

I learned that Mackerel means marked or spotted and its also an old French word for pimp. Wikipedia speculates that it’s because of Mackerels enthusiasm for spawning…hmmm.

There are many types of Mackerel, there’s even a West African Spanish Mackerel if you please and they are related to the Tuna and the Bonito. I didn’t find out how they had stripes but no worms were mentioned. I did find out that they have them to make it easier for them to align themselves to their fellow fish and to school, or swim together effectively. Camouflage is another possibility though they swim in bright water and it is unlikely it is useful.

The cove I mentioned earlier The Guillamene (or Guillameen) where all our men (and some women) go to cast their lines supposedly means Little Fish, maybe Young Mackerel or more likely the sprats which Mackerel come into feed on. No-one seems to be quite sure how the word evolved. ‘Geal’ is bright in Irish and ‘meen’ denote smallness. At any rate on the old maps The Guillamene was called Fish Cove so I suppose the late Summer ritual we see played out along the rocks has been going on for many centuries. Hopefully it will continue on many more.

These ones were delicious.



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