Bigeye Scad

Bigeye Scad, Selar crumenophthalmus

The Bigeye Scad, Selar crumenophthalmus whose common Spanish name is “Charrito Ojón” and local name is “Caballito” (Little Pony), is a member of the Jack or Carangidae Family, known collectively as “Jureles and Pámpanos” in Mexico.

The Bigeye Scad has an elongated fusiform (wide in the middle and tapering at both ends) body with disproportionately large eyes (for which they are named) that is moderately compressed that has a width that is 27 to 31% of standard length. They are a metallic blue to blue-green above shading to white below and most have a yellow stripe that runs mid-flank from the gill cover to the upper part of the caudal fin base. The mouth ends at the front of the eyes which are covered with a fatty eyelid. The anal and dorsal fin bases are long with the anal fin being behind the dorsal fin. Their two dorsal fins set very close together with no free spines preceding and no finlets following. The caudal fin is forked and the pectoral fins are longer than the head. The lateral line has a long, low arch with 29 to 42 scutes. The body is covered with small scales.

The Bigeye Scad reach a maximum of 30 cm (12 inches) in length. They are a schooling species found inshore and in estuaries over sandy bottoms and at depths up to 560 feet. They are vertical migrators feeding on small invertebrates, foraminifers, and shrimp when in-shore and move to deep waters during daylight hours to feed on zooplankton and fish larvae. They are a poorly studied species and very little is known about their behavioral patterns.

The Bigeye Scad cannot be easily confused with any other species.

The Bigeye Scad is a pelagic species that forms large in-shore schools with a wide global distribution. They are found in all Mexican waters of the Pacific with the exception that they are absent from north of Guerrero Negro along the west coast of Baja.

The Bigeye Scad is one of the most famous species in Mexican waters being utilized primarily as a flylined live bait for large game fish that survive a bait tank well. They are, however, not a favorite of Los Cabos Pangueros. They are accessible via hook and line with Sabiki rigs pre-dawn but the majority are caught via cast nets. They are considered to be a quality food fish but they are a substantial food source within all tropical Asian countries.

Bigeye Scad (1)

Bigeye Scad, Selar crumenophthalmus: Provided by the commercial bait salesmen of Puerto Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, July 2014. Length: 27 cm (11 inches).
Bigeye Scad, Selar crumenophthalmus: Provided by the commercial bait salesmen of Puerto Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, July 2014. Length: 27 cm (11 inches).
Bigeye Scad, Juvenile, Selar crumenophthalmus: Collected on the high seas with a bait net off the surface off Point Palmilla, Baja California Sur, Length: 2.6 cm (1.0 inch).
Bigeye Scad, Juvenile, Selar crumenophthalmus: Collected on the high seas with a bait net off the surface off Point Palmilla, Baja California Sur. Length: 2.6 cm (1.0 inch).