This is one of my favourite times of the year to be out on the water. Coming home from work and knowing that you can put the boat in the water at lunchtime and still be greeted with glassy conditions. Along with the cold weather comes some of our prime winter species such as the mulloway, tailor and snapper.
The tailor run this year has been one of the better ones that we have had for the last couple of years. Whether you are targeting them on baits or lures they are a really fun fish to chase in the bay.
Tailor normally move throughout the bay so if one day you get them in one spot then it doesn't automatically mean that they will be there the next day. But some go-to spots would be places like the Northern side of Coochie, South West Rocks at Peel and the reefs and drop offs around Ormiston with early morning or late afternoon being my time of choice.
Either anchoring or drifting works well when using bait but my preference would be to anchor and get a nice berley trail running. Cubed pilchards are a must in my berley mix as they are already a nice oily smelly fish. I would also mix in some tuna oil and chook pellets, as it soaks up the tuna oil nicely.
Tailor quite often are in the top half of the water column so when it comes to my rigs I will run 12-15lb mono straight to a set of gangs; the size of the hooks depending on the size of your bait. If I can get away with no lead, then I will, but if it is necessary then I try and keep it as light as possible. If I need to use a light sinker, I will set my rig up with a swivel and a trace. This will allow the bait to sink more naturally.
Some very welcome by-catch when it comes to targeting tailor are snapper and mulloway, both of which are great fun on light gear.
When targeting tailor on lures you can change your tactics a little. You want to be looking for birds and bait. Tailor will ball up bait and you will see them busting the surface, sometimes it will be up over the shallow reef areas other times they will be running up and down channels. You will often find them feeding on hardiheads so you want to match your lure to the size of the baitfish.
When the fish are up on the surface feeding on a school of bait the best technique that I like using is to throw surfaces lures at them. Lures like the Lucky Craft Sammy 85 and G-Splash work extremely well on the tailor, as they cast really well and are a similar profile to a hardihead. When working your surface lures, move them at a consistent speed, try and make it look like a fleeing baitfish.
When they are not up on the surface then either casting or trolling hardbodies around the 70-90mm, lures like the Maria MJ-70 and MJ-90, the Lucky Craft Pointer and Bevy Shad. Give these lures a twitching retrieve, even if you are trolling, twitch your rod on a regular basis. This will give the fish the impression that your lure is an injured baitfish and an easy prey.
I hope this has given you a few pointers when chasing tailor this winter. Get out there and get amongst them.Reads: 1399