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Tailor Fishing Tips and Techniques

Tailor are a predatory fish and can often be observed "chopping" into schools of hapless baitfish. Primarily found in rivers, bays, surf and around rocks in close offshore waters the tailor is at home in almost any area with good tidal run and nearby clean deep water. Tailor can be extremely aggressive and it's not uncommon for tailor to take baits only centimetres smaller than themselves. Smaller fish are most commonly encountered in rivers and bays where these choppers present excellent light game opportunities taking baits and lures readily and performing jumps trying to throw hooks.

These smooth water fish can be best targeted using baits such as blue and west Australian pilchards. The beauty of pilchards is, when attacked by a tailor the resulting head shakes and biting spread pieces of the pillie like a natural burley keeping the other fish in the school excited and in your area.

Lines for tailorfishing in the 4 to 6 kg range are more than sufficient for fish likely to range to 1 kg with the average being much smaller. Gangs of 3 x 3/0 hooks are a good option for use with pilchards and also allow main line traces to be used rather than wire trace. This results in many more strikes and hookups than if wire is used but be aware the occasional bite off will occur, probably from a second fish striking at a swivel of piece of bait sliding up your line.

From jetties and anchored boats liberal amounts of burley fed out into the current will attract these fish and bring them onto the bite. When they begin taking lines your dispersed baits should be sufficient to keep them interested with additional burley only required if the fish go quiet.

Surf and rock areas will produce a better class of fish with 1 kg specimens being average and fish to 5kg and bigger being encountered occasionally.

Here the use of pilchards will usually produce tailor in the 1 to 2.5kg range. Those wanting to encounter larger fish on a regular basis will be using large cut fillets of fresh mullet, tailor and bonito or whole large gar. Patience is the key to these bigger as is a move to plastic coated wire to ensure these big greenbacks don't part your line with their razor teeth.

Larger fish should be targeted with a minimum 6 kg line up to 10kg being preferred for very large fish, and hook sizes from 5/0 to 7/0 to suit your bait fished as two hook gangs or single hooks.

Those chasing XOS tailor start to fall into the same class as jew fishermen, spending long lonely nights awaiting that explosive big fish run but the rewards make it well worth the wait when your 5kg fish comes in.

Tailor Tactics

Smaller tailor can at times be fickle when it comes to taking a bait. On the same day they may only hit a still bait, then a slow moving presentation or drifting bait.

Where possible fish little or no sinker and vary your retrieve if bites go quiet.

Tailorfishing can at times result in a very hot bite where huge numbers of fish can be caught. Just remember tailor do not freeze well so it is recommended you only keep what you can eat fresh.


Feature - Tailor in the surf