The fish to catch for the Greenback Fishing Competition
Various source’s, ie Tackle World, Fishing Mates…)
Tailor are hard-fighting, predatorial fish renowned for their razor-sharp teeth. These powerful shearing teeth not only serve them well in regular feeding frenzies but also in breaking off the line when hooked, so tough gear is essential.
Physical Description: Tailor have elongated, compressed bodies with small scales. The lower body is silver and the upper body is dark green. Tailor have large mouths with powerful, sharp teeth used to cut and slice prey.
Size: Tailor can grow to 10kg but are usually between 1-2kg. There is a minimum legal size of 30cm for Tailor.
Habitat: Tailor are preodimantly an oceanic species, but they can be found in estuaries, lakes, bays, headlands and surf. Tailor can basically be found wherever baitfish congregate near deep water. If you spot choppy, churning water and seabirds wheeling and diving you should find Tailor. Tailor prefer early morning and late afternoon, so these would be the best times to hunt for a few Tailor.
Hint! Winter is a great time for Tailor fishing as they often move up and down the coast in the colder months. Also, a fail-safe way to hone in on these powerful predators is to simply look for groups of fishermen gathering along the beach.
How to Catch:
Bait – Tailor will accept baits of horse Mackerel, Western Australia pilchards, sea garfish, and fresh strips of slimy Mackerel and mullet. The best lures to use in order to catch Tailor would have to be surface poppers, as Tailor love these and will strike with spectacular and explosive power. You could also try minnows, chrome spoons and leadhead jigs.
Rod and Reel – Fishing for Tailor in bays and estuaries requires a medium to fast taper boat rod with a sidecast reel or eggbeater reel. Fishing off the beach requires a surf rod and sidecast reel however a good quality spinning reel can also be used.
Line and Tackle – Line should be 5-7kg, with a heavy monotrace of 10-15kg. Hooks should be 4/0 to 5/0 ganged in flights of 3 to 4.
BEST BAITS: Yabbies, worms, fish flesh, mullet gut and pilchard.
Bream usually inhabit rough, snaggy areas, 2 m to 6 m in depth. They feed together in schools, usually around areas which give them some protection, such as sunken logs, oyster bases, eroded banks or the base of rock walls.
During the winter months they congregate in the deep fast running waters, somewhere near surf bars where rivers and estuaries empty into the open sea, and bite best during the night and at dawn. Favoured nights in the winter months would be the big tide nights which correspond with the periods a few nights before and up to the full moon and new moon.
Dart love deep gutters with narrow white water covered banks with its inner face, producing a milky green colouration washing machine like turbulence-. Areas like this are highly recommended if targeting dart but at times when schools of small bait fish such as anchovies make an appearance they can be found in unusually shallow areas. Another consistent area are small but deep gutters edging flats and spits which hold good quantities of beach worms or pippis where the shifting sands expose these tasty mouthfuls.
Tackle requirements for dart should be longer rods built for casting good distances to wide banks matched with lines from 2 to 6 kg, I personally opt for 6 kg mono as it causes a lot less damage to fingers when using Alvey reels and if a trophy fish happens along gives a better chance of landing it. Mainline traces of 30 cm to better than 1 metre will suffice and is usually a matter of personal preference.
Sinker choice should be more tuned more to maximising your casting distance rather to anchor you bait in one spot. While a stationary is fine a moving bait worked by walking the beach with the washed along tackle can be very effective especially when bites are slow.
Hook types and sizes should suit the bait being used with no 4 to no 1 long shanks being ideal for yabbies or worms and up to 1/0 bait keeper hooks baited with large pippis. Some may consider a 1/0 hook far to big for a fish with such a small mouth but I can tell you from personal experience that even runt dart have no problem what so ever inhaling hooks of this size and larger. Gangs of 2 x no 2 hooks baited with white pilchards or anchovies can also be enthusiastically attacked on their days.
When casting for dart be prepared to close your bail arm or turn your side cast back into position as soon as the bait hits the water. When actively feeding dart will hit a bait almost immediately it hits the water and those that are too slow will end being bust off as loose line wraps and catches around the reel.
Their is a lot of variation to a dart bite pattern, with the primary take being a short pull back on the line. Others include lifting the bait allowing slack in the line not dissimilar to a wave picking up the line and washing it in, others are smashes where the bite cannot be confused as the rod bends heavily under the fishes full weight and power leaving no doubt in your mind that you are on. Then there are the very soft tap tap bites which bare no relation to the size of the fish, the list goes on, but your best idea is to remain alert and use every sense available from sight to touch just waiting for variation to what is normal. You will soon become attuned to the conditions you are fishing and start to realise that little pull down on the tip of the rod as each wave crest slides around your line just happened again but this time there wasn’t wave passing. A strike in this case will almost certainly result in a hookup, no movement will result in a baited hook when retrieved. In order to pick up these tiny nuances you must maintain constant positive contact with your line, allowing slack in your fishing line will guarantee a lot of missed fish.
Don’t be gentle with dart on the strike, hit them like a tailor. When using mono-filiment lines, the length of line out combined with the resultant stretch will cushion the impact even on their soft mouths.
Live bait – small mullet, yabbies, prawns, White Pilchards, also lures.
Flathead in the estuaries are essentially daytime feeding fish, and are more prevalent in summer months.
Many anglers don’t actively target flathead, instead using a heavily weighted line with a huge hook loaded with an unwieldy slab of fish flesh hopping that a flathead will come along and catch itself.
On occasions they do oblige, so the “sleeper” line as it is known, has become popular with casual anglers. Far better quantities and class of flathead can be caught by anglers that target them specifically.
Flathead are lazy, preferring to lie partially buried in the sand, awaiting food to come to them. Anglers need to go looking for flathead and present a bait made to swim in a jerky movement by weaving the rod tip, giving it the appearance of a small injured fish.
If you convince the flathead that the bait is alive, but unable to escape, it will rush a bait and take it one gulp. The subsequent struggles throw pieces of bait around and arouse other flathead in the vicinity, making it a good policy to cast back into the same area as quickly as possible.
The most common size of flathead caught is the “schoolie” of from .5 to 2 kg, so this rig is designer to catch that size, yet be successful if a bigger fish comes along.
Use a No. 2/0 fine pointed hook on a 30 cm trace attached to the main line with a No. 12 swivel. This small free running swivel used above the lead weight will prevent the line from twisting.
A running sinker is not used because it slides along the line causing the bait to sink unnaturally. Instead, a split shot clamped down on the trace about 16 cm above the hook is all the weight necessary. The sinker clamped to the line allows the angler to swim the bait forward and down in a most realistic manner. Practice this bait movement by lifting and lowering the rod slowly in shallow clear water until it is perfected.
Don’t use wire traces as they are stiff and take all the natural movement from the bait. Traces of lighter breaking strain than the main line are also not used as this misleads the angler on the breaking strain of the gear. The same size monofilament, perfectly clear, is preferred. Some anglers take the precaution of using a 30 cm trace of heavier nylon, but the sawing action by the head of the flathead mainly takes place on the surface. If the fish is kept submerged as you are playing it, you will rarely have trouble. The best baits for flathead include white pilchards, yabbies and fresh prawns. Fish flesh can also be tempting if cut into small triangles and left free to move on the hook by inserting the point through once only at the broad end of the bait.
The bite from a flathead is entirely different from other fish. The first indication is similar to being snagged, so it pays to treat all obstructions as flathead, until proved differently. The first indication of a bite is usually the well known bump, however it is best to wait before you wind the fish or lift the rod. While not a strong fighter, flathead do save an extra burst for that period just before beaching or landing. If you take your time, very few fish will be lost.
Flathead have spikes on each side of their head that can inflict a nasty wound. A sharp blow 3cm or so behind the eyes will prevent injury to the angler. When using a landing net, always place the hoop of the net around the head of the fish. Any attempt to net from the tail will result in the fish continually swimming out of the net.
Flathead often feed near fast running water, so look for features such as a change in formation, meeting of currents, or sand spit edge that provides some shelter from strong tidal flow.
You often catch big flathead in very shallow water close to the shoreline, so don’t wade in until you have tried these places first.
Flathead Surf Angling:
Small surf gutters and holes close to the shoreline often have good size flathead in them. A good choice of gear includes an estuary rod and reel loaded with 4kg line, smaller hooks and a minimum of lead weight.
When fishing the surf for flathead, the rigs, baits and methods used, are similar to those described in estuary flathead fishing. The best technique is to search for fish by working the bait through the holes and right to the shoreline. A nylon trace with a size 2/0 hook is again the normal rig. Never wade into the water before it has been well tried, as the flathead could be in very shallow water.
Mulloway (Argyrosomus japonicus)
|Scientific name||Argyrosomus japonicus|
|Size and possession limits||
|How to distinguish from teraglin||
|How to distinguish from black jewfish||
Where to fish
Their habitat range extends from the upper tidal limits of coastal rivers in near-drinkable water to reefs and offshore gravel beds many kilometers from the coast. They are particularly fond of hunting in river mouths and adjacent coastal areas along rocky foreshores and beaches where baitfish and squid are abundant.
How to target
Mulloway are predators and occasional scavengers, feeding primarily on smaller fish, squid, octopus, prawns, marine worms and crabs. They do a great deal of their hunting under cover of darkness, but will also feed during daylight hours, especially in dirty or aerated water and under low light conditions.
These relatively cautious, schooling fish are best targeted using live or very fresh baits of whole or cut fish, squid and large prawns or bunches of marine worms such as beach worms. They also respond well to lures and flies at times, and are a very popular target amongst sport fishers using soft plastics.
Try concentrating your efforts around the change of tide within a few days of the full and new moon phases. Most importantly fish regularly. Persistence pays off when targeting mulloway, stick at it and eventually you’ll land the trophy fish you’re after.
Rod and reel
Ideal tackle for targeting mulloway is dependent upon terrain and the size of fish likely to be encountered. In open areas of larger estuaries or bays, a 3000 to 5000-size spinning reel or an overhead (baitcaster) reel with a similar line capacity will do the job when matched to a 2 to 2.5m rod with a relatively fast taper.
For heavy rock, surf and breakwater fishing, many angler prefer heavier tackle and, on the east and west coasts, sidecast reels on longer rods (up to 4m in length) remain popular.
Line and leader
The majority of mulloway are taken on lines with rated breaking trains between about 5 and 15kg (monofilament or braid). In open water, they can sometimes be landed on much lighter tackle, despite being a powerful adversary capable of making long, sustained runs when hooked. Around line-cutting cover such as rocks and jetty or bridge pylons, heavier gear may be required.
While mulloway have strong jaws and sharp, conical teeth for grasping and holding their prey, their capture does not normally demand the use of thick, hard-wearing leaders or traces. Typically, a monofilament leader about twice the strength of the main line will do the job.
While mulloway have been taken on a huge range of lures and flies, 10 to 20cm soft plastic shads and fish-shaped “swim baits” are arguably the most productive offerings of all. Classic examples include the Squidgy Fish, Shads, Whip Baits and Slick Rigs. Natural, baitfish colours are preferred by most specialists, although brighter colours can be useful in dirty water.
With mulloway baits, fresh is best and live is usually even better! They are particularly fond of eating small tailor, luderick (blackfish), trevally, yellowtail scad, pike, mullet, pilchards, garfish, tommy ruff (herring) and slimy mackerel. However, perhaps the deadliest offering of all is a live or very fresh squid. In the surf, generous bunches of live beach worms are hard to beat.
Hints and tips
The mulloway is an immensely popular and highly sought-after target species amongst Australian anglers. These elusive and hard to catch predators can potentially exceed 2m in length and 70kg in weight, but are more common at weights up to 30kg.
Mulloway respond well to lure and fly in estuaries during daylight hours, however night time takes preference when targeting them with baits. Mulloway experts focus most of their effort around tide changes on the bigger tides of the full or new moon. Mulloway don’t come easy. Keep employing the methods you learn and fish regularly. Adult mulloway are good eating and there’s no crime in taking one for a feed.
Rigging for luring
Targeting mulloway on lure is great sport, can be quite productive, and enables you to be far more mobile in your approach. Braid is the line of choice as it provides direct lure contact and greater cast ability. An ideal leader length is one that sees the joining knot sit just above your reel when casting. Join leader to mainline with an Albright knot or similar. At the business end either a direct knot to the tow-point or a loop knot such as the lefty’s Loop for greater lure freedom.
Rigging for bait fishing
Obviously there are a different rigs to suit different scenarios and bait applications but the following double snell rig is a good one to get you started and is suitable for presenting both live or large baits in the surf and estuary. Cut 1m of leader line and snell a 10/0 and 6/0 hook to one end and a three-way swivel to the other end. Use a cross-lock snap clip to attach a star sinker to the swivel dropper. Tie your mainline to the top eye of the swivel. Bait up with a live or slab bait and you’re in business.
Click here for more Information On Mulloway
Information courtesy of Steve Starling, South Coast NSW and DAFF QLD. Photos courtesy of Steve Starling.
Luderick (Black Bream)
Luderick are a popular sport fish and a great table fish. A devoted band of anglers keenly fish for Luderick and no other species, and with its’ reputation as a fish that tries every trick in the book to escape, it’s no wonder they’re such a popular catch.
Luderick are a powerful fish with deep bodies and broad tails. Luderick found in estuaries are dark olive brown with a purplish tinge and dark, narrow, vertical bars across the body. Open water Luderick are paler in colour with silver bellies and a bronze sheen. The dark bars are more pronounced on open water species. Luderick can exceed 2kg but are more commonly caught between 0.5 to 1kg.
Habitat: Luderick can be found in estuaries and inshore ocean rocky areas. Luderick feed on weeds and can be found in rivers or lakes around tidal channels and weed flats with well shaded areas. They can also be found around ocean rocks after they have been inundated by the tide as this gives them access to beds of green cabbage weed. The best time to fish for Luderick is during the day in any type of weather.
TARWHINE a.k.a. Silver Bream
Tarwhine are hard fighting and determined scavengers, and like bream, will take almost any bait.
Physical Description: Tarwhine have striking silver bodies with horizontal golden stripes. They are often misidentified by anglers as black bream or yellowfin bream, however tarwhine have a more golden colour and rounded head profile.
Size: Tarwhine weigh at least 1.5kg. There is a minimum legal size of 28cm in Queensland and 20cm in New South Wales.
Habitat: Tarwhine can be found in estuaries, bays and lakes. The best times to fish for them are early morning, late afternoon and at night.
How to Catch:
Bait – Tarwhine are not fussy eaters and will accept fish pieces, prawns, yabbies, pipis and worms.
Rod and Reel – A light estuary or surf rod, handline or baitcaster should be quite effective.
Line and Tackle – Use a light rig with a line between 2-4kg breaking strain, sharp hooks between sizes 4 to 2/0 and a very light sinker.
Hot Spots: Tarwhine range from southern Queensland to Gippsland in Victoria and from Albany to Shark Bay in Western Australia.
Sand whiting inhabit sandy areas within estuaries, bays and coastal beaches at a depth generally between 0.5-6m. When targeting whiting within an estuary focus on the sand flats during an incoming tide, particularly the upper reaches of the tidal front, and channel edges during the run out tide. On the beach, look for areas of interest such as shallow gutters and holes, corrugated trenches and divots, and also the edges of washy sandbars.
How to target
When targeting Sand whiting you have the option of bait fishing in estuaries, bays and beaches vs surface luring in estuaries and bays. When bait fishing use live or fresh bait and incorporate a slow retrieve with the occasional pause into your style. When surface luring constantly cover new ground, cast up current and retrieve with the tide, and vary the action and pace of retrieve. Throwing a pause into a fast erratic retrieve is dynamite on timid fish. To set the hook with whiting employ a slow lift or gentle lean rather than a sharp strike.
Rod & Reel
To get more enjoyment out of your Sand whiting fishing it’s best to adopt a finesse approach with a lightweight, light line outfit. In protected waters go for something like a 2-4kg 7 foot graphite spin rod and a 1000-2500 size reel to suit.
On the surf beaches use a light 10-12 foot rod and balance with a 4000-6000 size spin reel or a lightweight graphite Alvey.
Line and leader
- Bait: 4-6lb monofilament & 0.5-1.0m 4-6lb fluorocarbon leader.
- Lure: 2-4lb braid & 1.5m 4-6lb monofilament leader (the shorter the more action imparted).
- Size 4-8 long shank hook, size 4-8 swivel, and size 0-2 ball sinker (slightly heavier in the surf).
- Fine gauge, roughly size 12 treble.
Small poppers or walk-the-dog style hard-bodied surface lures. For example, Bassday SugaPen 70’s.
The best baits for Sand whiting are live ghost nippers (nippers or yabbies), bloodworms, beach worms and pippies.
Hints and Tips
Sand whiting are generally caught in estuaries, bays and surf beaches from northern Queensland to Tasmania. Anglers adopt a finesse approach and use light line, lightweight outfits and live baits or surface lures to target them.
1) When fishing the sand flats cast into the sun where possible as silhouettes or shadows cast over the water easily spook Sand whiting.
2) When surface luring vary your retrieve and figure out what mood they’re in and what’s working best on the day.
3) Stopping and pausing a slow retrieved bait or fast, erratic retrieved lure is dynamite.
4) The ideal conditions for surface luring the flats are: rising barometer, sun in the face and wind at your back, casting up current and retrieving with the tide.
Rigging for surface luring
Targeting Sand whiting on surface lures is great sport and can be quite productive. Use a 2-4lb braid mainline and join it to a 1.5m, 4-6lb mono leader with a Double-Uni knot or similar. At the other end of the leader a loop knot (e.g. Lefty’s Loop) will enable walk-the-dog style surface lures freedom to move and zig-zag during the retrieve. Alternatively, tying a knot tight to the tow-point of a cup-faced popper will aid the popper to track straight during a constant blooping retrieve.
Rigging for bait fishing
Whether bait fishing from the shore or from a boat the rig you use remains the same, the only thing that differs is the amount of weight you use. Fishing a monofilament mainline can be beneficial as the elasticity reduces the chance of pulled hooks. Sand whiting rigs vary but a simple rig that works consists of a size 4-8 long shank hook, 0.5-1m monofilament leader, and a running ball sinker above a swivel. Bait up with a live nipper or beach worm and you’re in business.
Whiting Information courtesy of Audrew Balullovich, Merimbula NSW and DAFF QLD. Photos courtesy of Andrew Badullovich.