Macca had so much fun that he invited his mum Vanessa to come out for a piece of the action.

Targeting tailor in the rivers

G’DAY everyone, over the past two months we have seen huge schools of tailor enter our local rivers and bays. While this is not uncommon for winter, this season has been a cracker and is probably due to the massive amount of rain we have received. The abundant numbers of tailor should still be around this month too, so let’s have a chat about how to find and target them. tailor rivers

Tailor are ferocious pack-hunting feeders and to find them you need to find the big schools of baitfish that support their ravenous appetites. There are two ways to find bait schools – the first being to locate them on your sounder, which will show as a ball or cloud-looking cluster on the screen. The second and easiest way to locate the bait and the tailor is to keep a constant visual awareness of any bird or surface activity while you’re on the water.tailor rivers

Tailor can be targeted in many ways, which we will discuss, but firstly it is important to have a selection of lures that as closely as possible match the size and profile of the bait they are feeding on. A few lures I would recommend are 15g and 25g metal slugs as well as a couple of 50-60mm deep and shallow slender profile diving minnows.tailor rivers

Relatively new to fishing, Portia enjoyed catching a heap of tailor.

Other artificial products that are fun and work well are surface poppers and fly fishers can have a selection of bait profile flies, such as deceivers. If you are lucky enough to find the fish feeding slightly below or on the surface, this is the time to cast your poppers or metal slugs into the action, and the slugs should be retrieved at speed.

If there’s any wind on the day, it always helps to position your boat upwind of the feeding fish, which will increase the casting distance of the lures and also assist in keeping the boat away from the action without scaring the fish. Trolling around the edges of the bait schools is another productive technique and comes into its own when the surface activity finishes and especially if the fish are feeding in deeper water columns.tailor rivers

Expect to lose the odd lure at times because bite-offs are common given the razor-sharp surgical cutting nature of tailor teeth. Several anglers choose to apply a short wire trace to combat bite-offs, but I find the wire inhibits the action of the lures resulting in less strikes. As a last tip to finding these hard-fighting fish, I find tailor spike in their habits in the first hour of a run-in and the last hour of a run-out tide.tailor rivers

Talk to you all again next month.

About Brad 'Smithy' Smith

Smithy has been working as a full-time professional fishing guide for over 20 years, which makes him southeast Queensland’s and northern NSW’s longest-serving guide. Above all the commitments Smithy has in the charter industry, his overriding passion has always been to pass on his specialist experience to anglers and teach people of all ages and angling abilities the correct techniques required to catch all the Gold Coast’s estuary species on a variety of different lures. Smithy’s unique charter operations guarantees you will catch fish on lures or you don’t pay.

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