Sunday – Monday
I had managed to get a few days down at South Golden Beach in Northern New South Wales and was very keen to see if the Tailor where around on the beaches.
On Sunday morning I was up before dawn. I wrapped up in warm clothes and pulled on my waders. The house we were staying in was right behind the beach and I had seen a few fisherman pull in some small Tailor the night before, using pilchards.
As I came out on to the beach conditions were very calm. I had noticed a long wide gutter the day before so I tied on a 55g HALCO Twisty in the brassy/ gold colour and started putting in long casts towards the mouth of the gutter. I was doing a fairly fast steady retrieve and this soon warmed me up. Just after first light I briefly hooked a fish but it shook itself free after a few seconds. I carried on for another 30 minutes and just before the sun came over the horizon, I felt the rod tip bend over. It was a fair way out but I gradually pulled it in. It was soon at my feet in the surf, but as I pulled it clear of the water the treble pulled out of its lip and it was gone. I put in a few more casts before changing to a jerkshad soft plastic but I did not find another fish.
On Monday morning I decided to explore the mouth of the Brunswick River. I picked the rock wall on the north side and arrived just after first light at about 5.45 am. It was another fantastic sunrise with the whole horizon glowing a rich orange colour. I walked to the end of the rock wall with my light rock fishing rig. The NS Blackhole rod and Shimano Sustain 4000 reel, 15lb braid and 30lb fluoro-carbon leader. I tied on a 55g HALCO Twisty and cast it diagonally across the river mouth. I cast about 15 times in various directions with no luck. I swapped to a suspending YOZURI Crystal Minnow hard bodied lure and cast this across the same area. On my third cast a fish hit the lure and I set the hooks. It was a small (approx.35cm long) tailor. I photographed and threw it back. On the next cast a fish hit the lure again but I did not connect. I continued for another 20 minutes in this spot with no further action so I decided to swap to a small soft plastic lure.
I moved a little way back along the rock wall, up river. I dropped the fluorocarbon leader down to 12lb, tied on a 1/6th ounce, size 1/ hook jighead and loaded it with a GULP 2.5 cm Crabbie in the Chocolate sparkle colour. This immediately attracted the attention of some Bream, I caught a couple and threw them back, both were between 25cm and 30 cm long.
The wind had picked up but I could see a big flock of birds dive bombing a little way up the beach. I decided to go and investigate. They were about 300 metres offshore but gradually moving in closer around the small rocky platform, just north of the rockwall. There was clearly a big school of bait with something feeding on it from below, which had attracted their attention. I walked along the beach and found a long gutter that runs up to the rocky platform. This looked about 1.5m deep at its deepest point and the main channel was very well defined. When I got level with the birds I started casting my soft plastic. The first takers were a few small dart, close to the beach. Then something bigger grabbed the soft plastic and started shaking its head. It presume it was a tailor and it soon chewed through the leader. I tied on the 30lb leader again and rigged up a GULP Jerkshad in the Cajun Chicken colour and threw this out. A fish grabbed it almost as soon as it hit the water. This time I pulled it almost to the wave break, then it wriggled free.
I decided treble hooks would give me a better chance of landing a fish so I swapped back to the suspending YOZURI Crystal Minnow. My strategy paid off. The lure was slammed as soon as I started the retrieve. I managed to get this tailor, safely up the beach. Now the fish were clearly feeding in the gutter and almost every cast hooked up. I caught somewhere between 10 and 15 fish over the next 40 minutes. The largest was 48cm long. I dropped plenty before they reached the beach, but kept a couple of bigger ones. Then just after 9.00 am, I hooked up again but the YOZURI Crystal Minnow was bitten clean off after just a few reel turns. I tied on the HALCO 55g Twisty again and landed a couple of smaller tailor with this lure, but then the same thing happened.
At about 9.15 am I swapped to a larger floating YOZURI Tobimaru 130mm hard bodied bibbed minnow. I tied this on with a 40lb rated wire trace and threw it out. More or less as soon as it landed I felt the fish bashing it around and about 2-3 metres into the retrieve I hooked up. I turned the reel a couple of times and then the line went slack. Clearly there was now something very toothy out there and I am not sure I really wanted to catch it, so at about 9.30 am I gave up for the morning.
It had been a great tailor session and confirmed for me that they will eat anything when they are feeding in big schools like this. I think lure choice was fairly unimportant but I did get the slightly larger fish on the hard bodied minnows, rather than the metal slugs.