Cocinero, Caranx vinctus
The Cocinero, Caranx vinctus, whose common Spanish name is also “Cocinero”, is a member of the Jack or Carangidae Family, known collectively as “Jureles and Pámpanos” in Mexico.
The Cocinero has an overall “jack-like” appearance with a moderately compressed slender rectangular body with similar upper and lower profiles with a width that is 31 to 35% of standard length. They have dusky blue bodies dorsally and silvery with golden or greenish reflections on the sides. They have eight or nine incomplete bars on the sides and a distinctive black blotch on the edge of the gill cover. Their anal, caudal and dorsal fins are yellow. The anal and second dorsal fin bases are long. Their pectoral fins are longer than the head. Cocineros have twenty eight to thirty gill rakes, forty six to fifty three strong scutes, and a lateral line that is pronounced with a short anterior arch. They are covered with small scales.
Cocineros reach a maximum of 38 cm (15 inches) and is a common schooling species that are found over all types of terrain at depths up to 165 feet. They are a poorly studied and very little is known about their behavior patterns. The Cocinero is pelagic and found in both coastal and oceanic waters. They are found in all Mexican waters of the Pacific with the exception that they are absent from the northern third of the Sea of Cortez.
The Cocinero can be confused with the Golden Trevally, Gnathanodon speciosus (yellow pelvic fins; bar through the eye), the Green Jack, Carangoides caballus (darker and without bars; thinner body) and the Whitemouth Jack, Uraspis helvola (white inside mouth with six bars if present).
Cocinero are considered to be an insignificant catch that are normally caught by commercial fishermen with gill nets in shallow waters adjacent to the beach.