How do you mackerel fish at night?

F.I.S.H.Y

Fishermen.
  • Sep 27, 2019
    1,817
    806
    San Diego CA
    Name
    Erick
    Boat
    None
    This is what I saw, and what I'm going to do, and I am no expert on this but here's my 2 cents. I am going to use a 6inch light stick since I saw other people who were successful using it. I am going to put a ball on my swivel and put the light stick above the swivel past the ball
    Use this method for night time. All the people who use the glow sticks have a Sabiki rig attached to the bottom.
     
    Upvote 0

    Derrick.Van

    Newbie
    Mar 26, 2019
    73
    25
    Los Angeles
    Name
    Derrick Van
    Boat
    Don't got one
    The light attracts the fish to that area. A mackerel will eat if there is food. The times that they aren't biting is simply because they are not there, or not able to locate your bait.

    Mackerel are constantly on the move and if you don't have something to keep them coming back, will leave because that's just what they do. It's just like tuna in that you have to constantly chum to keep them close to the boat. Once the food is gone so are they.

    On days or nights when you'd say "they are not biting today" is because they are not there. A pier is a stationary object that you are standing on in an open ocean. These fish swim many miles in that open ocean and the chance of them coming to your location is very small. It's actually surprising that they do visit the pier almost daily as often as they do in season.
    That makes sense, I was fishing the whole day and they never came, I thought it had something to do about the fact that the day I went there wasn't many good fisherman on the pier, there was just a few guys at the end and a pier rat who comes I think everyday. I casted into a school of them during the daytime and caught 3 small guys, that really helped me later in the night since now I had bait.

    I think all the sabikis constantly in the water give some illusion to the fish that there is life at the pier, but I don't know that's just what I think. The whole day smelt where biting and there was tiny baitfish smelt near the pilings and that's what the bonito were feeding on.

    It's nice to fish on an empty pier but I think all the people there actually help the bite, either way, at night it was crowded with hoop netters and night fisherman and the bite was a solid bite and very consistent.
    Use this method for night time. All the people who use the glow sticks have a Sabiki rig attached to the bottom.
    Someguy told me to use 2 hooks instead of a whole sabiki rig to save on getting tangled at night.
     
    Upvote 0

    Oldtimer2

    Member
    Jul 29, 2020
    270
    495
    Iowa City Iowa
    Name
    Rob Malone
    Boat
    don't got no boat
    YAY!!!
    People still fish for Macs (and bones) off piers, and I suppose breakwaters (jetties). Glad to hear it.

    I too, had more luck early in the morning/late evening (daybreak and towards sunset for Macs), but bones were unpredictable. Could be morning, or sometimes, 2pm. It seemed to be when the tide was coming in and the bait was around.

    Now, the use of light sticks is more modern than my time for fishing Macs and Bones. But I'm gonna tell you a method that worked well back in ancient history (1950s and 1960s), and which I think would work well for both species today. It's called a Splasher + Feather. The idea is that you have something to make splashes on the surface and then follow it behind with a feather lure that imitates a smallish baitfish.And I do believe you could adapt it for fishing with a light stick.

    I'm not very computer literate (No sheet), but I'm gonna try and post a picture below. Here goes:
    splasher+feather.JPG
    splasher+feather.JPG


    Well that didn't work great! Two copies. Oh well.

    Now let me give you more info. You can use 20lb main line typing into the front end of the dowel or the bubble or the light stick. (Light sticks typically have one end with a hole, and the other end is solid and basically cylindrical. You want the solid end facing toward your line. (I've used this for nighttime walleye fishing back here in flyover land, and depending on the brand of lightstick, I could just drill a hole in the end and put line and then a swivel through it, OR epoxy a plastic ring to it.) You want the big end toward your pole to cause spashing.

    If you go with the dowel (which works great with daylight hours) and want to use it at night (which I did on the redondo barge) paint it with fluorescent paint and bring a flashlight with you. Two keys: 1) to get more splash, add a bottle cap to the end towards your pole Just epoxy it to dowel.2) For the connections to the lines use small stainless steel eyebolts for wood. Trust me, it don't cost much to make a dozen of these. I was a poor kid.

    I personally didn't like the "Castabubble" cause it didn't splash as much, but some folks used it.

    For Feathers you can make your own. I don't know if anyone makes them today. My best colors were yellow with red thread, white with red thread, and green/yellow with white thread. Again, it ain't expensive.

    Good luck, and if you try it, please post what happened.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Derrick.Van
    Upvote 0

    Derrick.Van

    Newbie
    Mar 26, 2019
    73
    25
    Los Angeles
    Name
    Derrick Van
    Boat
    Don't got one
    YAY!!!
    People still fish for Macs (and bones) off piers, and I suppose breakwaters (jetties). Glad to hear it.

    I too, had more luck early in the morning/late evening (daybreak and towards sunset for Macs), but bones were unpredictable. Could be morning, or sometimes, 2pm. It seemed to be when the tide was coming in and the bait was around.

    Now, the use of light sticks is more modern than my time for fishing Macs and Bones. But I'm gonna tell you a method that worked well back in ancient history (1950s and 1960s), and which I think would work well for both species today. It's called a Splasher + Feather. The idea is that you have something to make splashes on the surface and then follow it behind with a feather lure that imitates a smallish baitfish.And I do believe you could adapt it for fishing with a light stick.

    I'm not very computer literate (No sheet), but I'm gonna try and post a picture below. Here goes:
    View attachment 1206221View attachment 1206221

    Well that didn't work great! Two copies. Oh well.

    Now let me give you more info. You can use 20lb main line typing into the front end of the dowel or the bubble or the light stick. (Light sticks typically have one end with a hole, and the other end is solid and basically cylindrical. You want the solid end facing toward your line. (I've used this for nighttime walleye fishing back here in flyover land, and depending on the brand of lightstick, I could just drill a hole in the end and put line and then a swivel through it, OR epoxy a plastic ring to it.) You want the big end toward your pole to cause spashing.

    If you go with the dowel (which works great with daylight hours) and want to use it at night (which I did on the redondo barge) paint it with fluorescent paint and bring a flashlight with you. Two keys: 1) to get more splash, add a bottle cap to the end towards your pole Just epoxy it to dowel.2) For the connections to the lines use small stainless steel eyebolts for wood. Trust me, it don't cost much to make a dozen of these. I was a poor kid.

    I personally didn't like the "Castabubble" cause it didn't splash as much, but some folks used it.

    For Feathers you can make your own. I don't know if anyone makes them today. My best colors were yellow with red thread, white with red thread, and green/yellow with white thread. Again, it ain't expensive.

    Good luck, and if you try it, please post what happened.
    That is a lot of information! Thanks! The casting bubble is what I bought, I was thinking about it before my trip (I fish Hermosa every Sunday if I can) but I didn't go to big 5 and I regret it because the bonitos were running. I'll try the bubble but many people told me to use a dowel, I'll try the dowel someday. I never thought about using the splasher at night but I am curious what I see. I should rerig my splasher rig then, I was using 30lb mono since I thought bonito weren't line shy.

    I went last week and all my bites on mackerel were during the daytime after 12 pm all the way until 7pm (and I totally noticed how the mackerel would only start biting around 2, your explanation makes sense) where you couldn't see anymore so I just left. Last time I went I stayed a bit longer during the night because during the day I only got 3 wimpy macks and the last 30 minutes all the way until 8 pm when I left the macks were hungry, but only wanted cut bait. I went out and bought a splasher rig, I bought an eagle claw imitation because I thought castabubble was basically the same thing. I bought a white rockfishing feather with a 5/0 hook as my feather, I am curious to see how it will work because one of my wimpy mackerel I caught which was about 7 inches bit and got hooked on a 5/0 rockfish feather that I tied onto my sabiki rig, I was so surprised it worked, but I tied on the feather for bonito not mackerel.

    Thanks for the infographic you attached that really helps. I normally fish on boats but I finally got the hang of pier fishing, I used to go to the pier every Sunday 3 years ago and I wouldn't catch anything, I went again 2 months ago and I had a good day, I was hooked on pier fishing again, and now I could finally catch something, so after a month or so of fishing mackerel my way I went onto the forum to see how other people do it and I am learning so much about pier fishing. Thanks for spending time to help me out I really appreciate it!
     
    Upvote 0

    Oldtimer2

    Member
    Jul 29, 2020
    270
    495
    Iowa City Iowa
    Name
    Rob Malone
    Boat
    don't got no boat
    It's ok to use 30lb if you want. At night, it doesn't matter, and in daytime, the line to the splasher doesn't really matter. Except you can cast the 20 farther than the 30. Remember, the fish is focusing on the feather. Oh yeah, if I was focusing on Bones, rather than Macs, I'd often go UP from 8lb to 12 or 15 lb to the feather. If there were both hitting, I stay with 8 and hope.

    I used a Penn Squidder and a 8 foot offbrand rod that was the equivalent of a seeker 8ft 270 fiberglass model. It worked just fine.

    The problem with the bubble is that it DOESN"T splash enough. If you can, make the dowel. If you use flouresent paint, it's almost like a light stick at night.
     
    Upvote 0

    F.I.S.H.Y

    Fishermen.
  • Sep 27, 2019
    1,817
    806
    San Diego CA
    Name
    Erick
    Boat
    None
    It's ok to use 30lb if you want. At night, it doesn't matter, and in daytime, the line to the splasher doesn't really matter. Except you can cast the 20 farther than the 30. Remember, the fish is focusing on the feather. Oh yeah, if I was focusing on Bones, rather than Macs, I'd often go UP from 8lb to 12 or 15 lb to the feather. If there were both hitting, I stay with 8 and hope.

    I used a Penn Squidder and a 8 foot offbrand rod that was the equivalent of a seeker 8ft 270 fiberglass model. It worked just fine.

    The problem with the bubble is that it DOESN"T splash enough. If you can, make the dowel. If you use flouresent paint, it's almost like a light stick at night.
    You use a squidder on that rod? Overkill. Just get your bass settup (1000 size spinner on 5-12 rod) and make it fun. Mak can actually pull drag on 10lb braid. Make it fun.
     
    Upvote 0

    Oldtimer2

    Member
    Jul 29, 2020
    270
    495
    Iowa City Iowa
    Name
    Rob Malone
    Boat
    don't got no boat
    You use a squidder on that rod? Overkill. Just get your bass settup (1000 size spinner on 5-12 rod) and make it fun. Mak can actually pull drag on 10lb braid. Make it fun.
    Hey,I saved for 2 years to buy that squidder Lola this was back in 64 or 65. you use what ya goats, he? the part of the rig that made it sporting was the line from the splashier to the feather. with 8lb you had fun with Macs and had a chance with bones.
     
    Upvote 0

    F.I.S.H.Y

    Fishermen.
  • Sep 27, 2019
    1,817
    806
    San Diego CA
    Name
    Erick
    Boat
    None
    Hey,I saved for 2 years to buy that squidder Lola this was back in 64 or 65. you use what ya goats, he? the part of the rig that made it sporting was the line from the splashier to the feather. with 8lb you had fun with Macs and had a chance with bones.
    You do you. I use sabikis for maks and Jigs for bonies. Works perfectly.
     
    Upvote 0

    Xue

    Member
    Jan 3, 2015
    287
    115
    Name
    Xue
    Boat
    None
    Back in the 80's there were 10+lb bonito that came through the pier, some very big, and you wouldn't land any if you didn't fish at least 30 lbs. The minimum was 20 and that was taking a risk. The problem was if you couldn't get them to net fast they'd wrap around the pylons and you were done.

    You had to fish tight drags with big line and just pull and hope your hook didn't straighten or broke your line. You'd likely get cut off if you fought the fish for a period of time. Real fun memories.

    I have those memories embedded in my head. I can remember clearly the times when the bone's would come through and every bent rod's line would snap like Chinese firecracker.

    Most of the time people would fish mackerel with lighter line and their bonito setup would be resting to the side waiting. When the bonito did come it was in a fast furry and every mackerel rod got bit and subsequently breaking off, snapping like firecracker all along the pier.

    Then they'd be gone, just as fast as they came...
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Derrick.Van
    Upvote 0

    F.I.S.H.Y

    Fishermen.
  • Sep 27, 2019
    1,817
    806
    San Diego CA
    Name
    Erick
    Boat
    None
    Back in the 80's there were 10+lb bonito that came through the pier, some very big, and you wouldn't land any if you didn't fish at least 30 lbs. The minimum was 20 and that was taking a risk. The problem was if you couldn't get them to net fast they'd wrap around the pylons and you were done.

    You had to fish tight drags with big line and just pull and hope your hook didn't straighten or broke your line. You'd likely get cut off if you fought the fish for a period of time. Real fun memories.

    I have those memories embedded in my head. I can remember clearly the times when the bone's would come through and every bent rod's line would snap like Chinese firecracker.

    Most of the time people would fish mackerel with lighter line and their bonito setup would be resting to the side waiting. When the bonito did come it was in a fast furry and every mackerel rod got bit and subsequently breaking off, snapping like firecracker all along the pier.

    Then they'd be gone, just as fast as they came...
    Yeah things aren't the same as the 80s though. Lines have become much stronger. I catch 5lb Bonito on 10 lb test all the time seen 10lb caught on the same thing. We all use 1k spinners, no problem.
     
    Upvote 0

    lowprofile

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    Dec 11, 2011
    1,067
    544
    SoCal
    Name
    chris
    Boat
    Sold it
    12-15lb line. Green glow stick for casting weight and float, attach it 5ft above a #2 hook. Cast and watch it zip through the water when a fish takes it.
    Green and yellow does attract them better
     
    Upvote 0

    Xue

    Member
    Jan 3, 2015
    287
    115
    Name
    Xue
    Boat
    None
    Yeah things aren't the same as the 80s though. Lines have become much stronger. I catch 5lb Bonito on 10 lb test all the time seen 10lb caught on the same thing. We all use 1k spinners, no problem.
    These fish weren't the small ones being caught today either. Fish in the 10lb range were the smaller one's, and if you had 10 lb line you were done fast.

    In a straight pull like a jetty or boat, the 10 lbs can land fish, but once there are obstacles, like pylons or floating kelp, it's done pretty fast on the bigger fish.
     
    Upvote 0

    Wade K in deep

    IFish4Sanity&SelectivelyHarvest
  • Sep 24, 2019
    203
    153
    50
    Mariposa, CA
    Name
    Wade Knupp
    Boat
    Kayak & Kickboat
    Just a short note about the Cast-a-bubble in the pictures. Make sure you turn it around so the swivel goes against the wider end of the thru-tube or it will pop open all the time.
    Also you can cut open the light stick and pour it into the bubble.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Derrick.Van
    Upvote 0

    Derrick.Van

    Newbie
    Mar 26, 2019
    73
    25
    Los Angeles
    Name
    Derrick Van
    Boat
    Don't got one
    YAY!!!
    People still fish for Macs (and bones) off piers, and I suppose breakwaters (jetties). Glad to hear it.

    I too, had more luck early in the morning/late evening (daybreak and towards sunset for Macs), but bones were unpredictable. Could be morning, or sometimes, 2pm. It seemed to be when the tide was coming in and the bait was around.

    Now, the use of light sticks is more modern than my time for fishing Macs and Bones. But I'm gonna tell you a method that worked well back in ancient history (1950s and 1960s), and which I think would work well for both species today. It's called a Splasher + Feather. The idea is that you have something to make splashes on the surface and then follow it behind with a feather lure that imitates a smallish baitfish.And I do believe you could adapt it for fishing with a light stick.

    I'm not very computer literate (No sheet), but I'm gonna try and post a picture below. Here goes:
    View attachment 1206221View attachment 1206221

    Well that didn't work great! Two copies. Oh well.

    Now let me give you more info. You can use 20lb main line typing into the front end of the dowel or the bubble or the light stick. (Light sticks typically have one end with a hole, and the other end is solid and basically cylindrical. You want the solid end facing toward your line. (I've used this for nighttime walleye fishing back here in flyover land, and depending on the brand of lightstick, I could just drill a hole in the end and put line and then a swivel through it, OR epoxy a plastic ring to it.) You want the big end toward your pole to cause spashing.

    If you go with the dowel (which works great with daylight hours) and want to use it at night (which I did on the redondo barge) paint it with fluorescent paint and bring a flashlight with you. Two keys: 1) to get more splash, add a bottle cap to the end towards your pole Just epoxy it to dowel.2) For the connections to the lines use small stainless steel eyebolts for wood. Trust me, it don't cost much to make a dozen of these. I was a poor kid.

    I personally didn't like the "Castabubble" cause it didn't splash as much, but some folks used it.

    For Feathers you can make your own. I don't know if anyone makes them today. My best colors were yellow with red thread, white with red thread, and green/yellow with white thread. Again, it ain't expensive.

    Good luck, and if you try it, please post what happened.
    I tried it yesterday, there were 4 other bubble throwers the whole day but no one got hooked on. Mackerel bite was slow too and I heard it was slow all weekend. I saw bonito free swimming and chasing bait but none wanted to bite anything I threw at it, kastmasters, feathers, jigs, nothing. Might be the full moon messing with bait, I don't know, lots of lobsters at night tho I saw about 10 legals in 30 minutes.

    I'll try again next week and see what happens
     
    Upvote 0