Catching Yakkas: The Australian Guide to Fishing for Horse Mackerel or Aji

yakka make great bait and table fare.

Catching Yakkas: The Australian Guide to Fishing for Horse Mackerel or Aji

In the diverse tapestry of Australian fishing, targeting yakkas, or aji (horse mackerel), stands out as an exhilarating pursuit for anglers of all skill levels. Renowned for their spirited fight and significance as both baitfish and table fare, yakkas (Trachurus novaezelandiae) are a coveted catch in the waters surrounding Australia. This comprehensive guide gives you some effective strategies, prime locations, and essential regulations to enhance your yakka fishing adventures across the continent.

Understanding Yakkas: An Overview

Yakkas thrive in the temperate to warm waters around Australia, frequenting coastal bays, harbours, and offshore reefs. These slender silver fish are distinguished by their pronounced forked tails and sleek bodies, adaptations that enable their quick, agile movements in water. Recognized not only for their role in the marine food web but also for their appeal to anglers yakkas offer a multifaceted fishing experience.

Prime Locations for Yakka Fishing

The quest for yakkas can lead anglers to a variety of Australian waters, from the bustling harbours of Sydney and Melbourne to the serene bays of Tasmania and the expansive coastlines of Queensland and Western Australia. Key hotspots include:

  • Sydney Harbour: A haven for yakkas, offering abundant shelter and food sources.
  • Moreton Bay, Queensland: Renowned for its large schools of yakkas, especially around artificial reefs and deep drop-offs.
  • Port Phillip Bay, Victoria: A popular spot for yakka fishing, with jetties and piers providing excellent access.
  • Tasmanian Waters: Coastal areas around Tasmania are known for their clear, cool waters, ideal for targeting larger yakkas.

Gear and Techniques

Success in yakka fishing hinges on the right gear and approach. Light to medium tackle is preferred ensuring both sensitivity to bites and sufficient strength for the yakka’s vigorous fight. A 6-8lb line paired with a small sharp hook (sizes 8-12) is optimal. When it comes to bait yakkas are partial to small fish pieces, squid, or live baits like prawns. Alternatively, small metal jigs and soft plastics can be highly effective mimicking the small fish and crustaceans yakkas prey upon. Ajing in Japan has a big following and is becoming more nad more popular in Australia as well.

The technique often involves casting near structures where yakkas congregate, such as jetties, piers, and reef edges and employing a slow retrieve to entice these opportunistic feeders. For anglers favouring live bait, a float or a light sinker can aid in positioning the bait at the desired depth.

Regulations: Size and Bag Limits

Adhering to local regulations is paramount in sustainable yakka fishing. Fishing regulations may vary by state and may have bag limits designed to encourage conservation. It’s essential to consult the latest guidelines from the relevant fisheries authority before heading out, ensuring both compliance and contribution to the preservation of yakka populations.

The Dual Appeal: Bait and Table Fare

Yakkas hold a dual appeal for anglers. As bait, their lively action and scent make them irresistible to a range of prized game fish, including snapper, kingfish, and tuna. When it comes to table fare yakkas offer a delicate, mildly flavoured flesh best enjoyed fresh and cooked simply. You can’t beat a feed of fresh crumbed fried yakka filets! If you don’t believe me then I challenge you to give it a go!

Ajing or Fishing for Yakkas is Fun!

Fishing for yakkas around Australia is more than a pastime; it’s an engagement with the country’s rich marine biodiversity. Whether you’re casting off a jetty in Sydney Harbour, exploring the reefs of Queensland, or enjoying the coastal beauty of Tasmania yakka fishing offers a unique blend of challenge, excitement, and reward. Armed with the right knowledge, gear, and respect for local regulations, anglers can look forward to memorable encounters with these spirited fish, embodying the essence of Australian fishing adventures.