The icy fog hits you in the face as you head for your favourite fishing spot, tucked somewhere out of the westerly breeze, and you try all you can to find the few fish that are still feeding in the cooler waters of Winter.
I find that most days out on the water at 6am there is only a handful of seasoned fishos braving the cold. Their numbers begin to pick up around 7am and on some days, I seem to catch a large number of fish in that first hour when I have things mostly to myself. This extra hour also provides you with a good base to build your day around and to help you catch more fish each day you go fishing.
Over the past month or so, I have found the fishing red-hot early and slowing up as the sun rises. This same pattern should continue over the next month. A few days on the water recently with keen anglers from the fishing schools at Hunts Marine back me on that theory – they all got stuck into stud tailor from the hot water outlet at Kurnell right on first light.
Tailor are a great fish to start on during Winter and the Hacking River and Botany Bay will produce good tailor just on first light and they seem to slow as the sun hits the water.
For best results, anchor and berley with chopped pilchards around structure in deep water and fish with unweighted pilchards, allowing them to drift down your berley trail. Especially on slashing fish such as tailor, ganged hooks are the only way to deploy such soft baits as pillies.
find that once the sun hits the water, the tailor move off. Trolling seems a better method of catching them then. Spots worth trying are both the headlands of the bay, trolling north or south around 100metres from the shore. But take care in these spots as the odd wave will stand up and catch you off-guard.
Other good places include the entrance to Port Hacking and out around Jibbon Bombora but, again, watch the seas. South West Arm along the shoreline will hold tailor and should produce over the next month.
Smaller lures are the key for trolling around our estuaries I like the Rapala CD-7 as my first pick. It has produced plenty of stud tailor over the years around our southern estuaries.
If you look after your tailor by bleeding them immediately they are caught and keep them on ice they are great tucker. To cook Tailor all you need is to grill them. Step one, butterfly or fillet your tailor; step two, lie on foil skin-down and add salt, pepper and small dashes of olive oil and soy source. Step three, grill only the flesh side until it’s golden brown and serve with a round of toast. Mmmm, fresh tailor – hard to beat.
• I will be at the Sydney boat show on the Vision Boat stand at the top of the stairs to the left just outside. Vision Boats have on display Forty Love, an eight-metre plate cat that you have to see to believe.
With Rapala-munching tailor like this hanging around in the bay, you’d be mad not to get up early and have a crack at them.
With the westerlies flattening out the ocean, now is a good time to do battle with big drummer.Reads: 400