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Old 06-25-2018, 01:02 PM   #1
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Best size mackeral to use when targeting YT at La Jolla

Question for all the experts here... I’m new to kayak fishing in southern CA, and am still trying to get my first yellowtail (or keeper fish of any variety, actually). Have been out in La Jolla a handful of times, and so far have caught pacific mackerel that I have fly-lined and slow trolled, thus far without success. When asked, some of my boating friends have told me that the bait I have been using are too large (I’ve never caught or used a greenback under 10”, most are 12” or bigger). Is this true? Do smaller macs (like 7” or under) work better? If so, is there a way to target these smaller macs? Thus far I havent had too much trouble making bait with sabikis, but all of the macs I have caught or seen have been pretty large. Appreciate any insight...
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Old 06-25-2018, 02:43 PM   #2
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It's not too large. Just make sure you are using an appropriately sized hook.

I was at san clemente island last weekend lobbing belly hooked 10-12" macks on the boilers for calicos....
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Old 06-25-2018, 02:50 PM   #3
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I consider 5-7" mackerel to be the candy baits. However, it just all depends on what bait the fish are keyed into. A 30 lb yellows mouth is fairly large and can gobble down a very large mackerel... but sometimes that's not what they are feeding on.

Don't be afraid to troll a large bait, if it's not working go a bit smaller. All about figuring out the equation for that day. What fish are feeding on, where they are feeding, how heavy line you can get away with etc...
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Old 06-25-2018, 03:20 PM   #4
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Bigger the better for yellowtail.
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Old 06-25-2018, 07:48 PM   #5
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I had a small YT hit what must have been a 17” Mack.

I think it might depend on how much bait is in the area. That day, it took me more than an hour to jig up a couple of brown Macks and then I started fishing a yo-yo iron and caught that Mack on that Salas and threw it out there.

On the flip side, I’ve been out there when there’s massive schools, tons of 15” or bigger Macks in what seemed to be the 2 pound range and I couldn’t get bit on any of them, and there were guys in a PB catching YT on an iron within sight!
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Old 06-25-2018, 09:20 PM   #6
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IMHO, any mackerels are good. Mackerels are durable and last a long time, compared to sardines, for example. Green are more twitchy than the blue Spanish. If I have a choice, bigger are better than smaller.
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Old 06-26-2018, 01:46 PM   #7
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I like big macs because they are strong and fuss a lot while at trolling speed. This yt had this in its stomach, along with red crab, and a volcanic rock. It still ate a big hooked fin bait.
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