Big tailor start to arrive on the coast towards the end of February. Fish to 7-8kg can be caught around Mermaid Reef and Diamond Head on lures, garfish and fresh slab baits. The average size of these fish is 5-13lb, with the occasional fish a bit larger.
There are two runs of tailor in our area. One run of fish stays in close to the coast and contains mostly smaller fish. The second run of tailor can be found in 30m of water off Old Bar, 40m off Crowdy Head and 30m off Laurieton. They are mostly around the 12-14lb mark but some can be much larger. Fish in these areas are usually caught by jew fish anglers using live slimies or yellowtail for bait.
The best tailor I have seen come in from deepwater has been 12kg whole, weighed on the co-op scales. Occasionally these big fish turn up at Mermaid Reef and Diamond Head, and that is when the fun starts. A tailor of 10lb+ can make a hair-raising run when hooked from the rocks.
Big tailor jump quite a lot, especially when the breaks are applied, to stop them getting too close to trouble. You usually lose fish when they jump and shake their head. I have found that the best way to discourage jumping is to pull the fish over as soon as it comes out of the water. It will probably only jump once more and if it is pulled back into the water again it will give up the aerobatics and lug hard to one side. This behaviour is much easier to control.
Having said all that, it does not mean that every fish hooked will be landed. Be prepared to lose a few over the season.
At present, the estuary is yielding plenty of big flathead on live bait, bream at night on yabbies and mullet strips and whiting on surface lures.
Up stream the river is still very dirty and is only clearing slowly. Given no more freshes, February should see the Manning in excellent condition with flathead, bream and luderick being the main species sought.
After some nasty southerlies, the weather has settled down and the big tides during the full moon have changed the beaches and made them much safer to drive upon. There are still a couple of spots on Crowdy Beach that must be avoided on high tide, but for the last half of the run out and the first part of the run in the beach is safe for traffic.
Tailor are showing up in better numbers. Quite a lot of the fish are undersized and must be returned to the water. There are two sizes of legal fish; one group of 33cm and another smaller group to 44cm.
There are also some big salmon to be caught – fish to 4.5kg. These fish really perform on light gear.
Snapper have been the most sought-after species over the last few weeks. Soft plastics have been catching fish where bait has been ignored. Quite a lot of boats have switched over to plastics and the results speak for themselves.
Flathead are plentiful on the drift and most boats have been scoring bag limits of fish. At present there are big schools of small pike moving up the coast and they are getting a hammering by the tailor when they come in close to the beaches.
February is a great time for the land-based angler. The holiday crowds have departed and it is time to settle down to some serious fishing. The evenings are long and beach fishing is excellent at this time of the year.
There is always a chance of picking up a jew on fresh tailor slabs or beach worms at dusk. Sometimes the tailor bite on into the night and it is at these times when a decent fish may be hooked.Reads: 6141