86 Tamar Street, Ballina, NSW, AU 2478
My never ending quest to land a tailor over the 4kg mark once again saw me in myfaithful old land-boat, or car as they are commonly referred to, cruising down the M1 to the sleepy town of Iluka. One of my good fishing mates Ben is local down that way and knows the area better than he would care to admit. Similar to myself, Ben has a passion for chasing big tailor and has a whole swag of impressive captures to his name, including some huge fish in the high 4kg range. But, he too was on the hunt for green. In his time on the rocks, Ben had witnessed quite a few tailor get landed which pulled the scales down into the 5-6kg bracket and was pretty keen to call one his own. Our plan was to join forces for a couple of days and see if we couldn’t knock over a PB or two.
I arrived at the headland late Monday afternoon to Benny already sitting there waiting (which he seems to think he is forever doing with me, I’m not convinced), rod in hand ready to go. A quick gear pack, and we set off down the track in search of white water and, with a bit of luck, a big toothy greenback waiting to destroy a lure!
The tide was on the way in and the rock we needed to stand on was copping quite a bit of white water from the small but clean swell hitting the headland. It wasn’t an unsafe spot to stand, but we would have to keep our wit’s about us and also prepare to get wet. It’s times like these you really appreciate the importance of rock cleats. Those little metal studs may look small, but they make you stick to the rocks like Velcro!
Ben had opted to start the session on a popper while I chose to run a 70gram halco twisty. By using the two different lures we’d quickly determine if they were favouring one over the other.
My first cast almost made it the whole way back to the rod tip before the twisty was crunched by an angry chopper tailor. Being rigged more for the big fellas my 12’ Penn Prevail made short work of the 1kg tailor and soon he was cruising around a big rock pool behind us. This guy was destined for the dinner table, it’s hard to beat a feed of tailor when it’s been looked after correctly.
After my first cast hook up I thought we may have been in for something special, but try as we might we couldn’t manage to tempt another hit all afternoon.
The following morning and afternoon session came and went without so much as a sniff from anything with fins. The conditions were almost too good to be fishing. The small swell wasn’t making much wash for the tailor to feed in, and there was a distinct lack of bait around, both pretty crucial ingredients for a good tailor session.
We decided to give it one more session on the Wednesday morning, but we were yet again left empty handed. The long drive back to Brisbane only proceeded to fuel the tailor fire even more as I stewed over sessions of big fish lost or no fish at all. After all, it’s the fish that present the greatest challenge that you always keep you coming back for more. Although we hardly turned a reel this time, the thought of a session when the big fellas finally come on the chew was more than enough to ensure I’ll be back on the highway heading down the coast sometime soon.