Spitfire Tailor
  |  First Published: October 2008

Readers who go back a few years may recall my love affair with poppers and all manner of surface lures. The romance extends beyond just the lures themselves to include of course the techniques and fish that go with them. In particular poppers are ideal for chasing tailor at this time of year.

I have been topwater fishing with poppers for tailor in Moreton Bay since I could first cast a spin rod. As an eight year old my little arms would wind furiously on the reel handle to skip my popper across the surface. I was totally awestruck every time a tailor hooked up and leapt in the air.

The most common location we fished was Gilligan’s Island and the washes, waves and surf that formed there at low tide. So poppering for tailor has always been a low tide activity and although there are many months of the year when you can chase tailor with surface lures, the spring run of tailor on their way up to Fraser Island is the best season to do it.

There is also a huge variety of species that come as by-catch when chasing tailor on poppers. These include; flathead in the shallows, bream across the flats or around rocks, long tom, trevally, tuna, pike, and many more.When poppering for tailor my tackle varies from a stock standard bream outfit with 2-4lb braid and 10lb mono leader to a medium weight spin outfit with 10-20lb braid and 12-20lb mono leader. Spin reels that offer gear ratios of around to 5:1 fit the bill perfectly.

As far as lures go, the best poppers are those around 80mm long that have a tiny bottom lip so they can handle high speed and skip without ‘tripping’. The concept might be described as having an overslung top jaw. Such a lure has enough cup to be blooped when pop and pause retrieves are what the fish want. A lure of this sort can also handle high speed crazy ‘skipping’ retrieves like those generated by my eight year old self or any primary school kid. Sometimes the tailor will prefer one retrieval method over another, mix it up on the day to determine their preference.

Many different lure colours can be effective. These days I buy clear lures and I paint my own using nail polish or model aircraft paints or I simply leave the lures clear. If painting your own poppers doesn’t fancy you, kits of a dozen lures are available with a variety of different colours including metallic, clear, bright and either X-Ray or Lime Ice (clear sides and belly with a chartreuse sprayed strip on the back) lures. Ideally tailor poppers should also have a white tail feather.

So there you have it, anywhere there is a bit of wash or white water around our islands, breakwalls or structure, at low tide, grab your spin outfit and enjoy this season for chasing tailor on poppers. Fish On!

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