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, and best techniques 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 well worth kitting yourself out with a variety of proven deep and shallow diving minnow style lures so that you can cover a large area in your travels and increase the chance of a strike. When trolling around I normally put a deep and shallow diver until I find what depth the fish are feeding at and change the lures to suit it.
My top 6 lures that have been producing great results so far this year in the Maroochy and bottom end of Mooloolah river include:
- Shallow divers:
- Tropic Angler poddy shallow
- Reidy’s B52
- Citer Bibless minnow
- Deep Divers:
- Tropic Angler Poddy Deep
- Trollcraft Pelagic #4 and #5
If you are intrigued by this species and was to give trolling or casting for tailor a go, then mention this Coastlife article for an extra hour for free in any hire boat when you hire for 2 hours or more. We have boats and pontoons that are designed to go downstream and approach the river mouth to target tailor running in with the incoming tide. With an extra hour thrown in, you can afford to fish the last hour of incoming and first hour of outgoing water which is when the tailor hit hardest! The Swan Boat Hire team are especially well practiced in tailor fishing as well and can always lend a hand with rigs.
A selection of the top six lures for cleaning up tailor and trevally trolling in the local rivers and bays.
This 38cm chopper tailor took a Tropic Angler poddy deep lure in the channel downstream of the motorway bridge.
Allan Webster was trolling just off the edge of the channel when he nailed a couple of nice flathead on 3 inch Powerbaits.