Tailor Time
  |  First Published: September 2011

Tailor are once again in full swing in southeast Queensland and for young anglers, tailor are a great way to take your fishing to the next level.

These fish are a very rewarding light tackle, saltwater fish, as they attack baits and lures aggressively and often put up an awesome fight. They’ll even sometimes leap out of the water while trying to shake the hooks. Tailor can make a day of family fishing enjoyable and exciting!


Tailor love to hang around break walls, rocky reefs, headlands and large gutters along beaches, waiting to attack almost anything that crosses their path. It’s good to look for any white water (foamy seawater) in the area.

The tailor wait for bait fish to get caught up amongst the surging, white foam. If you think you’ve found the perfect spot to fish for them and plan to go there again, there is a slight chance that you may not find them there again. This is because tailor often tends to move from one hunting ground to another. But if you do find them you can expect a decent time fishing.


Since tailor have quite sharp teeth, a strong line is a must. Remember to watch out for those teeth, too. A sensible line size is around 15lb, not too heavy, but not too light, either, you don’t want that line snapping.

A wire trace, attached from the swivel to the hook, is very important so the tailor can’t bite through your line. The most popular bait to use is either a whole pilchard or garfish, set up on ganged hooks. A sensible hook size is between 3/0 and 6/0.

You can buy ready-made tailor rigs from your local tackle shop, and I must say, these definitely come in handy. Tailor can also be caught on live bait; live herring work very well. My Uncle Jeff used this on his hook recently while fishing for tailor and he was rewarded with a beauty!

If you want to go past the bait, lures are great fun to use on these predatory marine dwellers. The most popular lure to use for them is called a metal slug. These are lures made of polished metal and often painted with a baitfish design. They in many different sizes, suiting all kinds of fish, but you can’t beat the tailor’s intense aggression for these lures. It’s just a matter of casting the lure into the ‘strike zone’ and reeling it back really fast. Tailor just can’t resist it.

Casting into the surf works fairly well with these lures as you can cast them out quite far and reel them in quickly without getting snagged. Try a few hardbodied minnow lures, either in a small or medium size. There is a huge range of colours to choose from. Remember, it’s always best to select a lure that has almost the same colour of the baitfish in the water. These lures work fantastic if you are able to cast around some rocky headlands. I’ve found that closer to the white water is best.

Technique is very important as well. To get the fish more excited, it’s good to twitch the rod every few reels. This will cause a constant bait motion, imitating a sick or injured baitfish.

Last but not least you could also try a popper. These are probably the most exciting lure to use when fishing because all fish that are in the mood to take it, often hit the surface with a big splash! When in the mood, tailor will hit poppers hard. Poppers can come in many different sizes and colours, but it’s probably best to stick with the smaller scale poppers.

Tailor are a fish for the whole family to enjoy fishing for, they’ll usually put up a great fight and are really rewarding, especially for the young fishos! Angling for these beauties will definitely push your fishing skills to the next level.

Remember to use all the suitable gear when fishing for tailor. Learn how to work those lures properly as it’s important for keen fishermen to continually be building their skills. Catching your first tailor is exciting, but be prepared, learn the skills required and have an awesome day tailor fishing!

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