Tailor start on Fraser
  |  First Published: July 2013

This month should see Fraser Island's tailor season make a serious start.

Of course it is possible to score tailor right through the year, but it is from July to early November that the better quality breeding fish make their presence felt along the east coast and headlands of the island. Research into their habits suggests that major spawning occurs in the surf zone as far north as Sandy Cape. The presence of tailor larvae around Indian Head has shown without any doubt that major spawning occurs there, and this has brought about the annual closure from 400m south of Indian Head to 400m north of Waddy Point, and 400m seaward. The closure covers the months of August and September and applies to all fish, not just tailor. Just a reminder that Middle Rocks, between Indian Head and Waddy Point, being a green zone, is totally closed to all fishing all year round.

In recent columns I have mentioned the hazardous condition of the eastern coast. Unfortunately, things haven't changed much since I compiled that report. It would appear that during the early months of the year, there was so much sand ripped out of the beach, that conditions haven't been right for a decent repair job. Hopefully by the time you read this the beach may have become a little more friendly. The main trouble spots have been One Tree Rocks, just north of Eurong, Poyungan, Yidney, Chard and McLaughlin Rocks between Happy Valley and Eli Creek. Further north, Ngkala Rocks continues to produce problems for those intending to travel to Sandy Cape.

Although good tailor will be taken right along the beach, the most reliable sections are often between Cathedral Beach and Dundubara, around Indian Head and Waddy Point, and between Orchid Beach and Sandy Cape. It works out very well for campers that some of the top water is close to the best campsites north of Cathedral Beach. This stretch of beach usually has ideal long gutters that can easily be fished by the multitudes.

To the delight of those who prefer not to use tailor gear, the gutters are usually loaded with dart. Of course too many dart is not good for serious tailor fishing. It is going to be interesting to see how the beach formations shape up for this year's season.

Although most anglers will be using the traditional long rods, 650 Alveys and chained hooks baited with WA pilchards, there will be increasing numbers working 65g and 85g metals like Knights and Raiders.

Recent catches of other species along the ocean beach have been encouraging with plenty of bream, tarwhine, dart and whiting being caught. The quality of whiting continues to be the best seen in years. A few mulloway have been taken in the early evenings but sharks, with and without serious teeth, have been making life difficult.

On the western side of the island, beach conditions have been very good but catches have been disappointing. The bright spots have been the mouths of Coongul and Woralie creeks where bream and flathead have featured.

Although it is the ocean beach that sees most of the tailor action, an almost unnoticed movement of tailor takes place through the Sandy Straits from the Wide Bay bar through to Hervey Bay. The average size does not challenge that of the ocean beach but fish of up to 1.5kg can be expected. Some of the more reliable locations are off Boonaroo, Garys Anchorage, Ungowa, River Heads, Picnic Islands, Woody Island. McKenzies and Point Vernon. Very few anglers target this run of fish and most are taken while other species are sought.

As expected the shallow reefs of Hervey Bay have slowed down with lower water temperatures. Just a few blackall and squire are coming in. Light gear anglers have been looking forward to the annual bream season that should now be underway. Again, it is going to be interesting to see how the succession of floods in the Mary River will affect this year's run of fish. Early signs have been encouraging with South Head at the mouth of the river producing some excellent fish.  Spawning bream favour areas with high oxygen levels such as those with fast running water over rock bars. The Picnic islands, the northern end of Woody Island, Round Island, the boat harbour rock walls and Point Vernon are expected to fish well. On Fraser Island, Moon, Coongul and Wathumba creeks also see congregations of spawning bream during the winter months.

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