TAILOR-MADE FISHING IN THE RIVER
Last week we took a look at one of the more sought after beach and estuary species to grace the Sunshine Coast each winter in big schools - Pomatomus saltatrix or Tailor. The beach fishing for tailor article covered where to go along the Coast beaches, bait or lures, casting or trolling techniques and best rod/reel combos to get the job done. If you missed out last Friday and want to know more about beach fishing for tailor then check out the highlights on www.swanboathire.com.au This week we are sticking to the protected rivers and creeks to target the cheetah of the sea - with the comparison being about the speed and accuracy these two hunters have adopted, opposed to the likelihood that both species have whiskers and spots!
River fishing is quite different to beach fishing. Not only are the tailor smaller in size but they are only going to be in the rivers and creeks if they have chased in a school of baitfish. The best way to identify a school of moving baitfish is to watch for sea birds circling as they too follow baitfish as a food source. The baitfish, especially herring, make a slight ripple on the water's surface as they move with the current and this often resembles ‘boiling' water. Casting lures or unweighted baits into these schools of bait is a classic tactic for having your bait hit by an unsuspecting tailor. Using baits such as WA, baby blue and large frogmouth pilchards is recommended. The best (and sometimes worst) part about using pilchards is, when attacked by a tailor the resulting head shakes and biting spread pieces of the pillie in the surrounding water. You are either happy with the natural burley release which is attracting more fish, or you will be cheesed off at the prospect of re-ganging yet another pillie!
Unlike normal estuary fishing, where you wait in hope that a fish will smell your bait and have a nibble, lure or bait casting is the proactive way to attract the attention of a tailor. Both bait and lures can be ample in size as tailor can be extremely aggressive and regularly hit baits only centimetres smaller than themselves. So don't laugh at your mate who has just rigged a whole live mullet on his tailor rod. Line in the 4 to 6 kg range is all you will need in the rivers as average fish is in the 1-2kg weight range and you will have a good play with this breaking strain. Use gangs of 3 x 3/0 hooks with WA pilchards and smaller gangs of two or three with the smaller bait options.
If planning to approach these schools by boat, it is also worth trolling feather jigs with sizable jigheads, metal slugs and even pilchard-like soft plastics. Poppers cast and retrieved as you walk along the bank of the river or slowly trolled behind the boat are also a big success.
Kit yourself out with a Berkley Drop Shot 3-5kg weighted 6'6" rod with an Abu 802 Cardinal reel spooled up with 8lb Fireline joined to a 50cm plus of 30Lb leader. When the fish are in good numbers it pays to use a small length of wire above your hooks and lures.
If you are in the market for a new rod for beach or estuary tailor fishing then before the end of this financial year is the best time to buy with many tackle stores readying for stocktaking. Swan Boat Hire is having a clearance on Surf Rods over the next two weeks with up to 20% of one and two piece rods. Just mention the code: Coastlife Surf Rod Special to staff and we will apply the discount. We can find a beach rod to suit all needs and are especially well practiced in tailor fishing!
Next week being the first week of June, the focus will be getting prepared for the winter bream fishing season - this usually entails bribing your grandmother to knit a funky new beanie complete with a skull and crossbones to ward off the nasty flu lurgy and sharpening up your bait holder hooks in anticipation of a bumper winter fishing period.
LOCAL FISHING REPORT
Noosa: Trevally and tailor in Woods bay and Munna Point in the mornings. Whiting on live yabby opposite Munna Point Caravan Park. Bream throughout the river.
Maroochydore: Tailor along the beach over night at Mudjimba. Mud crabs in the channel between the motorway bridge and bli bli. Whiting between Chambers Island and the mouth on the morning making tide.
Kawana: Plenty of good sweetlip up to 2.5kg, snapper and parrot on the inshore reefs. Quality bream to 1.4kg from the canals. Gar in the sand basin.
Caloundra: Quality bream around Gemeni Towers and the power boat club. Mud crabs at the Caloundra end of the passage.
The pilot bream have started to show up on the Sunshine Coast with several fish up to 1.4kg taken in the Mooloolah River and this 945g specimen caught by David Smith using fresh mullet near Bli Bli bridge.
Big tailor like this 3.5kg specimen are generally taken in surf gutters, but will venture into river systems on the making tide over night and Mark Arnall put in the hard yards for this 3.5kg greenback in the Woods Bays last week. (Photo thanks to www.fishingnoosa.com.au)
Winter months generally give anglers in smaller boats a change to hammer the close inshore reefs. Andy Gunn ventured out to Old Women Island in his Tinny for these Spangled Emperors.
Brento Mansfield was working small metal slugs through a bait school off old Women Island when this 6.2kg grey mackerel smashed it and put a up a great fight on light spin gear.