It’s a tale of tailor
  |  First Published: June 2007

Big schools of baitfish have moved into the river and made their way up as far as Maclean.

Following these schools, mostly white pilchards, have been hordes of small tailor which at times have been a real problem when lure fishing. They can empty the tackle box very quickly. My advice is to avoid fishing with lures in the areas where these small tailor are schooled up and are biting at anything that moves – including leader knots.

Big tailor are on the menu at the moment with the headlands producing some nice fish to 5kg. The average size along the headlands has been about a kilo to 1.5kg with those big greenbacks over 7kg due to show up any day now.

June, July and August are the traditional months when the really big tailor are on the bite. Best baits for the big tailor off the beaches are strips of bonito and large sea gar.

From the headlands, large sea gar are the only bait you can cast far enough to catch big tailor. Large chrome lures and big poppers from 50g to 100g will produce the best fish with the secret to success lying with the ability to make a long cast.  

With all these tailor on the beaches and the mullet running, the jewfish have shown up in good numbers with fish averaging 12kg to 15kg. Shark Bay and Back Beach are the pick of the beaches with Iluka Main Beach holding more fishos than fish at times.

The headlands are producing the bigger fish on large hardbody lures and feather jigs with the Middle Bluff the spot to fish. The river is producing good fish with Winter the traditional time for bigger jewfish.

The breakwalls are holding schools of mullet which are attracting the jewfish. Inside the river you will find jew feeding wherever you find mullet schooled up in the deeper water.

Long tail tuna have been everywhere, Some days the Iluka breakwall has produced up to eight fish. With the amount of baitfish holding in the area, the chance of tuna turning up regularly is good.

The only down side is the behaviour of some people who think they are sport fishos. There are only a couple of bad apples but we need to remove them from the sport because killing long tail tuna and using them to berley more fish or throwing them into the rocks so they can catch more fish is not the sort of behaviour that is acceptable.

You can catch and release these tuna by simply taping a knife to the back of your gaff and cutting the line instead of gaffing the fish. There are no excuses for this sort of behaviour and if you see anyone destroying these fish in this manner, you need to report it to the relevant authorities.

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority has, as of January 1, announced that longtail tuna are now a recreational-only species and has put heavy restrictions on commercial fishers. This means if we don’t take care of this fishery then the only ones we have to blame are ourselves.


What a season it has been for the mackerel at Shark Bay. With many fishos producing bag-limit catches on most trips and the commercial fishers catching 50 to 80 a day.

It has been one of the better seasons over the past seven or eight years. Most of these fish are now heading north again and the big fish will be the only ones left to catch as the main schools are now leaving. All we can do now is look forward to next season and hope it is as good or better.

Big bream are moving up-river following the big schools of baitfish. The area around Maclean has really been the hot spot this month with sea-run bream moving up the system and the resident bream moving down.

All these fish are congregating in the deep water and feeding on the baitfish. Quality fish over a kilo are being caught on bait and lures with all the recognised bream spots fishing well.

Luderick have started schooling up at the mouth of the river with experienced fishos producing good bags. The best baits are black weed in the river and green weed around the headlands and river mouth. These fish should only get better over the next few weeks and now is the time to try your hand.

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