FEBRUARY is the time when the big tailor – fish of more than 5kg – start to show up around Diamond Head.
They are most easily caught from boats by spinning a gar or a pilchard near the rocks or around the tiny bommies close to the headland. Nevertheless, it is a far greater accomplishment to hook and land a big tailor from the rocks, where you have very little space to move around and the fish must be brought in over the sharp rocks and cunjevoi.
Metal lures are probably a better bet when spinning from the headland. You are able to get more distance on the cast and reach the shadows alongside rocks where the big fish sometimes hide. It is necessary to use fairly strong line when fishing in areas like Diamond Head. I prefer 15kg Tortue for spinning lures and gar. The bigger the gar, the better, if you are chasing big tailor.
In my youth, a long time ago, I climbed about 100 metres up the front of the headland and looked down on a couple of mates spinning gar from the low rocks. When they threw out a smallish gar the tailor would rise, in a school, once the gar was near the edge of the weeds growing on the underwater rocks. The attack was instantaneous and one of the tailor from the front of the school would take the bait.
However, when a big gar was spun towards the weed, the smaller tailor would hesitate and from the rear of the school would come a fish anywhere from 3kg to 8kg. It seemed in those days each school of 1kg to 1.5kg tailor had at least one big fish with them. I know that there aren’t as many tailor around now and they are not as big, but the big gar bait will still get you the bigger fish in the school. I use six 6/0 hooks with swivels between each hook for rigging the biggest gar I can lay my hands on.
Flathead are getting better day by day and will still be the species to target in February. Soft plastics and live bait are taking fish. Whiting are showing on the sand flats at the mouth of the river and should be at their best by the time you read this. Bream are taking yabbies at night and some nice school jew to 6kg have been caught from the sea wall on live bait.
The beaches are well formed and there are a few beautiful gutters on both beaches. The gutter on Harrington Beach has produced good tailor and a few school jew. Bambi Lamborne extracted a fish of just over 27kg on a metal lure early in the month and a tailor of 3.5kg was caught the evening before.
The occasional good snapper is still being caught along with the pan-sized ones. The afternoon north-easterlies make it difficult for the boats and most are out early and back well before lunch. This will be the procedure to follow in February as the winds will blow strongly after lunch.
Bobby-corking for flathead with live bait or fishing for whiting with worms or yabbies will be the way to go in the estuary. On the beaches, tailor will be the most popular species with a throw on dawn and dusk for a jew using a fresh tailor slab for bait a good alternative.
Robert ‘Bambi’ Lamborne with a beautiful 27.2kg jewie caught off Harrington Beach.Reads: 1973