drmevo

Have I been wasting my time with this frozen mackerel?

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I know it's late in the season to be asking this, but I'm trying to learn from my mistakes for next season. In the past week or so the type of mackerel I had been using successfully was no longer available and was replaced with some that I have a feeling was older (it came in a different bag, bigger fish frozen rock solid and eyes were clouded). Is that type of bait just a total waste of time to be using? I haven't caught anything on it yet. Even the crabs seem to mess with it less. I understand fresh is always best but I don't have my own boat and don't know how to get fresh at this point. Do you guys have any tips for picking out bait? Thanks!

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Yeah, what I was using before was frozen but it seemed to be more recently frozen, if that makes sense. Ever try grocery store mac? I haven't checked to see if it's around or what the price would be.

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I don't think it makes any difference. I fished bait a lot this year, and it was frozen macks most of the time. What shocked me is that we caught many fish on macks that had been thawed and re-frozen (some even twice). It gets a little harder to keep on the hook, but I guess it still smells like a mackerel to a striper...

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Usually easy to catch them without a boat. Why not use fresh. Then freeze some you caught. Free bait. Less you have nothing and your in a pinch...buy frozen

Edited by Crabba

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My experience has been if you freeze it but then use it relatively quickly, it's fine.  The longer it sits in the freezer, the less effective it becomes.  I throw mackerel 100 days a season.   I buy it fresh or very recently frozen.  I defrost what I need overnight and it's marinating in blood the next morning.   However, the blood seems to be less as the macs stay in the freezer longer.  For that reason I buy no more than 8-10 days worth at a time, despite the inconvenience of having to go to the bait shop more often.  One year I purchased about 60 bags.  They were fine the first week or two but useless afterwards. 

 

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I know surg has posted a way to bribe them after there caught witch the few time I have done it has made all the different. 

 

They seam to start to detearate as soon as there dead if there left in warm water, but If I put  in a cooler with ice +water immediately they seam to take the freezing better. Stop the deteriorating before it starts. I figure this is part of the reason the stuff you buy in those vacuum sealed bags is of a lesser grade it’s just the way it was cared for, just my thought  on it. 

 

 

I got of topic a bit but I will say I have caught plenty of fish on the frozen bait you get at the end of the year (or beginning). The only time your wasting time fishing is between cast 

Edited by Tlacey21walden

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20 hours ago, Crabba said:

Usually easy to catch them without a boat. Why not use fresh. Then freeze some you caught. Free bait. Less you have nothing and your in a pinch...buy frozen

I must not be finding the right spots then. I've tried sabiki rigs from shore but haven't caught any.

19 hours ago, Tlacey21walden said:

I know surg has posted a way to bribe them after there caught witch the few time I have done it has made all the different. 

 

They seam to start to detearate as soon as there dead if there left in warm water, but If I put  in a cooler with ice +water immediately they seam to take the freezing better. Stop the deteriorating before it starts. I figure this is part of the reason the stuff you buy in those vacuum sealed bags is of a lesser grade it’s just the way it was cared for, just my thought  on it. 

 

 

I got of topic a bit but I will say I have caught plenty of fish on the frozen bait you get at the end of the year (or beginning). The only time your wasting time fishing is between cast 

Yeah, the stuff in the vacuum bags is what I'm talking about...haven't caught a thing with it. I might go back to lures for the remainder of the season unless I can find something better.

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Try to see it this way. When you freeze fish, the water within the cell structure of the fish will expand/crystallize, when you defrost it, it will become mushy, and the flesh will not be firm.

Sure, before I started to brine, I would prep...pre-cut my Mack's into chunks, and I would then vacuum seal a day's worth of chucks, and into the freezer they went.

I'd pull out a bag or two after they were frozen solid the night before, and place them in the fridge. When I got up a few hours later to go fish, I'd grab the bait out of the fridge, and throw it in the car, and go.

By the time I made it out to my fishing spot, they were about 1/2 defrosted, perfect, as I like it that way the most, it cast's very far...lol

But... after an hour or two, it was mush city, good for chum, that's about it.

So, I started to brine my bait, when I could. Makes a world of difference, as the flesh stays firm, the color isn't all washed out...because it's preserved.

There are still Mack's around, try casting a small metal lure around to locate them from shore, you may need to move locations a few times, until you find them.

 

 

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35 minutes ago, StriperSurg said:

when you defrost it, it will become mushy, and the flesh will not be firm.

Try this. An old Fujian bartender/old salt taught me this trick with Frozen whole baitfish. Right after you pull the bait out of the freezer, pour about 1 cup of Iodized Table salt into the bag with the frozen bait. As the bait starts to defrost, the salt helps soak up the juices, etc. that cause the bait to get mushy and break down the fish. The salted bait will keep much better and any left over can be rinsed and re-frozen at least once for another trip. This tip has made a big difference in my bait & chunk fishing, give it a try. I get the salt at the Dallor store, 99 cents spent is worth keeping my bait fresh.  

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I haven't had any trouble with mushy mackerel, although I did have that problem with mushy frozen herring I got once recently where it would fly off every other cast.  The vacuum-sealed stuff just seems to not have any juice or something. The color and everything else seem OK once it is thawed.  Could be I need to try different spots more than the bait being bad I guess.

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Try salting them. I use on anchovies, mackerel, & Sardines, for herring and other less oily baits I cut the salt to about a 1/4-1/2 cup. The only time I won't add the salt is if the bait is already cut in hunks or I am using the bait for chum line.

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