A big south easterly blow had stirred things up over the weekend and it was still forecast to be blowing at 15-20 knots on Monday morning. It looked like I only had one day to fish this week, so I had to go for it. The recent rain would make the estuaries dirty, so I decided to drive back down to Fingal Head and fish the rocks.
I arrived at about 4.15 am and although the wind had calmed a little, there was at least a 2 metre swell. The horizon was grey with a hint of orange, as the sun started to appear. The swell would make it hard to fish but the Tailor love the white water and there was plenty available. I had to carefully time my hop across the causeway, between the big swells.
I rigged up the heavy rod. The reel is a Shimano Stradic 8000 FJ and I have generally used the pink Bionic 20 or 30lb braid on it. This is great line that lasts well but it has started to fray and so I have replaced it with a spool of 20lb Fireline, in the luminous green colour. I find this colour stands out better than all the others, especially in low light. Fireline has advantages and disadvantages. When its new it can be a little stiff but as it is a fused line, it does not take in much water and it slides through the rod guides very easily. Unfortunately, just as it becomes supple enough to be perfect for fishing and knot tying, it starts to fray. It is certainly much tougher than its advertised breaking strain.
For the first cast of the day I usually start with 30lb fluorocarbon leader. I am out of DUO Minnow lures at present but fortunately RAPALA have sent me a box XRS 12s. I love most of the RAPALA lure range, especially their smaller hard bodies for Trout and Bream. But I am not sure they have the build quality of the DUOs, especially in the larger suspending and floating minnows. When you are fishing from the rocks, the lures get knocked around so they need to have a durable paint job. The X-Rap is nicely shaped and has a good action but after half an hour and a few knocks, the paint starts peeling, the loose flakes catch in the water and this changes the lures action. To get it to swim right you then start peeling off the rest of the paint – which is not ideal.
I tied on an XR12 in the Silver colour and cast out. I have tried different speed retrieves but I generally prefer to go fairly quickly, jerking the rod to the side in long sweeps until I can feel the vibration coming back up the line. On the second cast a fish hit the lure and I hooked up. It was a good Tailor about 50cm long. I took a few pictures and threw it back. Shortly afterwards I lost the lure to the rocks. I tied on another in a different colour but after 30 minutes this had not produced anything. I tried a smaller YOZURI Crystal Minnow but the swell was too much for it and I could not get it to run right. I put on a 65g Raider metal slug and fished it for a while, but it did not find a fish. Then I tied on a cheap, bottom of the tackle box, sinking vibe lure. I cast it out about ten times until it was grabbed at the base of the rocks by another 45cm Tailor.
The swell was pounding over the rock platform, so I could not stand on the eastern edge and cast at the area where the fish have been holding. I decided to give a heavier, 85g Raider metal slug a try. I would be able to cast this further and pull it over the area where I though the fish were. After a few casts I had another fish on. I pulled it round the rocks to the north and landed it. It was another 45cm Tailor. On the next two casts I hooked and then lost fish. A few minutes I hooked yet another.
I got it to the base of the rocks and then it shook itself free. When I pulled up the slug I could see the fish had broken off one of the hooks on the treble and the split ring was looking severely stretched. When the Tailor attack they really get stuck in.
By 9.00am the sun had come up but the swell was still crashing over the front of the rock platform. Even if I hooked more fish it would be very tough/dangerous landing them, so I gave up for the day.
The temperatures are up and it is mid-November but there are still plenty of Tailor about. I wonder how much longer they will hang around?