Scott’s Species – yellowfin whiting, a flats fishing fascination

In recent years, writes Western Angler editor Scott Coghlan, there has been a massive surge in interest in yellowfin whiting fishing in the bottom half of WA.

Species: Yellowfin whiting, Sillago schombergkii

Eating: 4 stars

There have always been people who like catching these chunky whiting, but the development of lure fishing for them, and particularly with surface lures, has seen an incredible boost in popularity over the last decade.

Yellowfin whiting are a popular species to target on surface lures, particularly in the Leschenault Estuary. 📸 Zach Relph

More and more anglers have discovered the joys of wading the shallows casting tiny lures for what are a surprisingly aggressive fish, and which show up in big numbers in many locations over the warmer months as they prepare to spawn.

The epicentre of this rise in popularity has been the Peel-Harvey Estuary, which is home to a big population of yellowfin that become very active in summer.

Metro fishers have become very partial to a quick run down the freeway to fish the Peel-Harvey once the annual run starts.

I can recall seeing these whiting when fishing the estuary many years ago, and wondering how they might be caught given the fact that blowies quickly pounced on any baits thrown in the water.

Yunderup local Steve Anderson was one of the first to crack the code, having picked up on a similar fishery over east that had been around for a few years.

Mark Davis also wrote a timely article on surface fishing for yellowfin in the Swan River that inspired many anglers to give this style of fishing a try.

Fishing for yellowfin is great fun and they are a strong fish for their size, growing to around 43cm.

Beau Suladra with a lovely ‘ting from the Peel-Harvey Estuary.

Most yellowfin caught will be 25cm to 30cm, and any fish of 35cm and above is worth bragging about.

Some anglers call them mini-bonefish and it is easy to understand why given they are usually caught in very skinny water and are, like bonefish, ghosts of the flats.

Sometimes they can be easily spotted when conditions are perfect as they mooch across the flats, perhaps little flashes of silver giving them away, but if the water is a bit dirty or the surface is ruffled they can prove impossible to see.

Often you won’t know they are there until you see them chasing the lure in a frenzied pack.

For an apparent bottom feeder, with a mouth designed to do that, it has turned out yellowfin are very partial to a lure being skipped along the surface.

They will indeed chase down lures in packs, hitting with gusto.

Pack attack! Lachie Ramm found a hungry school of yellowfin in the Peel-Harvey.

An erratic retrieve is good but unlike bream long pauses are not needed as yellowfin actually respond better to a constantly moving target. It is quite clear they think the lure is a fleeing prawn, which is part of their diet.

Small surface poppers from 5cm to 8cm long work very well on them at times, as do floating and sinking stickbaits.

Poppers offer the most visual, and fun, way of catching them.

However, if they are wary of hitting surface lures, then a sinking stickbait or small bibbed minnow might work. Lures that imitate a prawn are a great option.

Soft plastics such as Z-Man Grubz on light jigheads will work, as will the range of scented soft plastic worms.

Vibes have also proven to be very successful on yellowfin.

In areas where blowies aren’t an issue, small pieces of coral prawn, squid or bloodworms are an effective bait, and can be used on a basic running sinker rig with around 30cm of light leader and a long shank hook.

Yellowfin are very fun to target on light gear! 📸 Han Yeoh

Whiting love shallow water, so the bottom half of a rising tide can be very effective in the South West, as they start exploring the flats as the water level creeps up.

Hot weather is important as they become more active in warm water, so a nice sunny day is normally ideal and fishing during the heat of the day is fine.

Interestingly, when we’ve chased yellowfin farther north, such as Shark Bay and Exmouth Gulf, we’ve found the opposite for tides.

Found as far north as Onslow, the northern yellowfin turn up in huge numbers in the shallows as the tide drops right out.

I assume this is because they can feed without having to worry about larger predators, which can’t access the rapidly shallowing water.

I am never quite sure if the northern whiting we catch are yellowfin or actually gold-lined and the exact species seems to be a matter of some conjecture, but both species are almost identical anyway.

Exmouth Tackle and Camping’s Steve Riley loves chasing yellowfin whiting in the Exmouth Gulf!

While calm conditions are great for spotting whiting, they can also make them very spooky, and a little breeze will probably produce better fishing.

When it comes to gear required for yellowfin, a light spin rod around 2m long rated at 2kg-3kg and matching small reel spooled with braid (use light leader) or fluorocarbon is all that is needed and will maximise the fun they provide.

Whiting hit hard and fight well, but they are generally hooked in clear water and aren’t going to pose too many problems on even the lightest gear.

Most keen whiting anglers replace the trebles on their lures with a single set assist hooks, believing that this maximises hookups, and I have found yellowfin are quite adept at throwing trebles.

Many anglers like to keep a feed of yellowfin, as they taste great.

It is great idea to have a floating basket you can tow behind you while wading, into which you can put fish (and maybe even blue swimmer crabs) as you catch them, keeping them alive until you are finished.

You might then just choose to keep the biggest fish and release the others.

Because they live in the shallows, yellowfin whiting are one of our most accessible recreational fishing species.

They are fun to catch, taste great and inspire us to wade some magical locations while enjoying the summer sunshine. No wonder so many people love to chase them nowadays!

Wading the flats for yellowfin whiting is a terrific way to enjoy hot summer days.

Scott’s Species – rainbow trout, somewhere over the rainbow

In the final Scott’s Species for 2021, Western Angler editor Scott Coghlan casts his eye (or fly!) at rainbow trout.

Species: Rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss

Eating: 3 stars

ID: Rainbows have a prominent pink stripe down their silver side.

Rainbow trout are an introduced species in Australia, with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and Recfishwest stocking trout across the South West and Peel regions each year.

Tom Howe with a lovely rainbow trout from near Pemberton. 📸 Angus Line / Fly Fishing Outfitters

Want to see where trout were stock recently? Click here!

They are largely a freshwater fish, although they can survive in a saltwater environment and have been to known to run to the ocean at the Donnelly River.

Trout can grow to big sizes elsewhere in the world. For example, the massive canal fish in New Zealand, but here in WA the biggest they get is about 4kg.

Most that are caught will be much smaller, from 30-50cm long, and weighing up to 2kg.

Pemberton is the heart of trout fishing in WA and is where most of our fish are bred at DPIRD’s hatchery before being released.

Every years hundreds of thousands of trout are released into WA waterways, from tiny fingerlings to big ex-broodstock fish, the latter providing most of the large fish captures locally.

Kiefer Jackson tempted this rainbow trout while exploring the South West,

They can be found in rivers, streams and impoundments across the South West and Peel regions.

Interestingly, our WA trout have evolved to become more heat tolerant than those in other parts of the world.

Rainbows love fast running water and will often be found around rapids in rivers and streams, or where water runs into dams.

They are an aggressive fish, known to take a fly, lure, spinner or bait.

Sometimes they strike because they are chasing prey, but other times they appear to do so because they are territorial.

Rainbow trout will usually jump when hooked. The key to consistent trout success when fishing rivers is working out where the fish will be holding and getting your offering into that area.

Put the lure or fly in the right spot enough times and you should catch fish. This is a skill that is learned from time spent trout fishing, as you eventually see a pattern emerging.

Check out the eye-catching colours on this rainbow trout! 📸 Zach Relph / Recfishwest

In rivers, they generally pick spots where food will be funneled past and ideally where they can hold out of the main current, such as behind a rock or log.

If you are lucky enough to be on the water when there is an insect hatch on, especially impoundment fishing, then you will experience a different side to trout fishing, as they will rise repeatedly and gorge themselves on the food on the surface, making dry fly an option.

There aren’t many classical trout fishing locations in WA where anglers can wade and sight cast to fish, with Pemberton having a couple that can be fished that way when water levels are suitable.

Rather, WA trout fishers need to be persistent and ingenious, finding ways to get lures or flies to fish.

Take it from me, fly fishing in many river and stream locations in WA is extremely difficult, as it is difficult to access the water and even harder to back cast, but it can usually be done.

In many spots, spinning tackle is much more feasible and enjoyable. Floating hardbody minnow lures are my preference when spinning, as you can float them down with the current to access areas that are not able to be cast to.

NT-based fisher Kjell Hensen headed to Lefroy to catch his first rainbow trout while on a fishing holiday in WA.

Some of our smaller streams are so heavily overgrown the only way to fish them is to poke the rod  through the scrub and then drop the lure down and let it drift downstream.

Upstream fly fishing is impossible in most areas, so similar tactics on fly are often used.

Obviously, dam fishing is much easier, especially for newcomers to trout fishing, and it can be very productive, either casting from the bank or fishing from a boat or canoe.

Trout will happily take trolled lures. I have fond memories of the glory days of Waroona Dam, when it fished sensationally for fat rainbow trout.

For fly fishing I can’t go past a weighted Woolly Bugger as the fly of choice, or a Mrs Simpson when impoundment fishing.

Occasionally I will use a nymph and opt for wet flies 99 per cent of the time, very rarely getting to try a dry.

Recfishwest’s Sam Russell is a self-confessed trout tragic!

For lures, there are plenty of bibbed minnows that will work, and oddly enough the best colouration seems to be rainbow trout. Bladed spinners also work well.

If bait is your preference then it’s hard to go past worms! If spinning, light gear is all that is needed to subdue them, and tackle of 2-4kg will normally be ample.

For fly fishing, a 6-weight would be a good starting point, although lighter outfits can make for a lot of fun on smaller fish.

Pemberton offers a great range of locations to try on the Lefroy Brook, Treen Brook and Warren River, as well as Big Brook Dam.

The Donnelly River is also a good fishery, while the upper reaches of the Collie River has been stocked heavily in recent years.

Safe to say Steph Watts was more than happy with this Waroona Dam rainbow.

Harvey Dam is probably our most popular fishery these days, offering rainbows as well as brown trout and redfin perch.

The annual Troutfest, held by Recfishwest in partnership with the Shire of Waroona, sees thousands of trout released into Drakesbrook Weir each year.

Also, Recfishwest hosts Fish in the ‘Burbs at Austin Lakes Estate, South Yunderup, stocking rainbows at a safe and accessible lake in the middle of surburbia to give more fishers access to the joys of trout angling.

These are just a few of the more popular locations and the rewards are there for those keen to explore.

While they appeal to many people on the plate, I’m not one of the people who loves eating rainbow trout and prefer to catch and release.

Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland with rainbow trout fingerlings at last year’s Troutfest.

Scott’s Species – longtail tuna, an exciting speedster

Longtail tuna are a staple of WA fishing, writes Western Angler editor Scott Coghlan in this week’s edition of Scott’s Species. Also known as northern bluefin tuna, they are found from Geographe Bay north and can grow to around 30kg, although most of the fish encountered in WA will be no more than half that maximum size.

Species: Longtail tuna, Thunnus tongol

Eating: Three stars

ID: Extended, slender body.

While they are an offshore species they will enter shallow water when chasing bait, especially garfish.

At times schools of them will be seen chasing bait right up against the shore, especially in Exmouth Gulf when they are hunting gardies.

It is a spectacular scene when you see longtails bailing up bait in such shallow water, looking like dozens of depth charges going off.

I can recall seeing them doing exactly that in a small bay at Airlie Island, in the Mackerel Islands off Onslow on afternoon.

Champion full-back Ashley McIntosh, who is known for stopping the AFL’s best forwards during his career with the West Coast Eagles, had to flex his muscles to reel in this longtail. 📸 Western Angler

We have also had them come through while fishing shallow sand flats around the Mackerels, and a solid longtail hooked on light gear in that environment makes for a serious battle.

For their size, longtails are very fast and powerful and possess great stamina.

When fly fishing near Thevenard Island a few years ago I was having a ball on a school of mack tuna. Then I hooked a fish which took a heck of a lot longer to subdue.

When it got closer to the boat I realised it was actually a longtail.

Like most tuna, longtails can be fussy and sometimes you need to match the hatch, particularly when they are focused on very small baits.

However, often times longtails aren’t as discriminating at some other tuna species and will taken anything thrown in their direction, including quite large lures.

Unexpected longtail action is a regular part of lure casting in the northern half of the State and there have been many times I have been surprised by a longtail while fishing for other species.

Steve Hart loves chasing longtail tuna, catching this one on a stickbait off Dampier. 📸 Western Angler

One of the most memorable was at Wilderness Island, on the east side of Exmouth Gulf.

We had just launched kayaks to fish around the nearby islands, having seen tuna working not far offshore while we scoffed down breakfast.

I dropped a bibbed minnow behind me to paddle south and had only gone 50m or so when the reel started screaming in just over 1m of water.

I was hoping for a golden trevally, but the speed of this fish had me thinking tuna and it turned out to be a solid longtail that took some serious stopping in the shallow water, with a string of brutally powerful runs.

The best way to target longtails is to look for working schools of fish from Kalbarri north, with active birds a sure sign the tuna are about.

Exmouth Gulf is renowned for its big schools of longtails. When they are really big schools they seem to ignore approaching and nearby boats, and will continue to feed.

However, as the schools get smaller they get flightier and it can become a fruitless and frustrating task chasing tuna that are almost within casting distance only to disappear, and then reappear 100m further away.

The best way to approach smaller schools is from upwind, perhaps cutting the motor when you get close, and allowing the boat to drift onto them.

Or deploy an electric motor and use it to get close to the fish. A lure that can be cast a good distance is very useful, such as metal slugs, slices and Halco Twistys.

It pays to carry a range of sizes to match the hatch and the faster the retrieve the better usually.

I have also caught them on poppers, stickbaits and bibbed minnows – as I mentioned earlier they aren’t always fussy.

This longtail tuna took a liking to Glen Edwards’ lure somewhere in the Kimberley. 📸 Western Angler

Longtails can be caught from shore, I have even seen pictures of fish caught from jetties in Cockburn Sound.

They are often hooked by anglers fishing for mackerel at spots like Steep Point and Quobba, either on spin or ballooning gear.

In summer they are known to ride the Leeuwin Current south and will often be caught in metro waters, usually in good sizes.

Heavy gear is not needed to be able to tame longtails, but you need to have a reel capable of holding enough line for their long runs.

Anything around 6kg-14kg will get the job done with some patience.

Don’t use wire when chasing longtails as they have exceptional eyesight and will usually shy away from it.

A length of fluorocarbon should be used when fishing with braid.

Longtails can be hard to finish off at the boat, as they have that tuna habit of lugging around on their side when they are straight below. Longtails are decent eating and make good sashimi.

Marco Fraschetti with a longtail tuna off Exmouth. 📸 On Strike Charters

Scott’s Species – brassy trevally, spectacular surface striking sportfish

Looking almost identical to a giant trevally, the little cousins of the GT are great fun in their own right while not growing to the huge sizes of their close relative, writes Western Angler editor Scott Coghlan in this week’s edition of Scott’s Species.

Fish: Brassy trevally, Caranx papuensis

Eating: 1 star

ID: Very similar to a giant trevally, but with yellow tinge on fins, with a slightly less sloped forehead.

Mike Roennfeldt with a solid West Moore Island brassy. Pictures: Western Angler

I must admit I really love brassy trevally, perhaps more than I should!

Brassy trevally normally grow to around 85cm, although most caught will be smaller than that.

Found from Exmouth north, I’ve mainly encountered them around Exmouth Gulf, where at times you can find big schools of 6kg to 7kg fish around the shoals.

At that size they are awesome sportfishing, and will hit lures with as much gusto as GTs and pull hard for their size.

One of the main things I love about brassys is they are rarely travelling alone and usually appear in numbers.

I have fond memories of a day where we had them busting up all around us for hours down the bottom end of the Gulf and I hope to encounter that again one day.

“I must admit I really love brassy trevally, perhaps more than I should,” Scott Coghlan.

My biggest brassy was caught near Wilderness Island, and took a Halco Roosta popper cast against a rocky outcrop.

A big brassy trevally from Exmouth Gulf for Scott Coghlan on a Halco Roosta popper – note the yellow tinge on the fish’s fins.

It was a spectacular surface strike that would do any GT proud and put up a great fight.

They are often found around structure, whether that be rocky headlands, sandbars, islands or reefs.

Small fish also show up in ridiculous numbers in the shallows at times and can be very entertaining on light tackle, hitting any lure that they see.

When the small brassys show up it is not uncommon to catch two fish on a lure with multiple hooks.

While they will happily take baits they really are a great target for lures.

Any of the approaches that work on the various trevally species will work on brassys.

Brassys often turn up in schools, like this pair at Kuri Bay.

Their aggressive nature means surface lures like stickbaits and poppers are an ideal way to chase them and gain the most from the experience.

They’ll happily takes flies and metals, as well as bibbed minnows.

In fact, I reckon fired-up brassies would hit an unbaited hook with little hesitation!

Style of retrieve is not vital, you just need a bit of action on the lure to trigger their attacks.

I wouldn’t worry about eating them unless you were very hungry, just kiss them and let ‘em go!

Brassys are very partial to lures and lead-head jigs can be very effective on them, including this one caught in the Kimberley by Barry Pledger.

Scott’s Species – bluenose salmon, a tough and fierce fighter

Catching a bluenose salmon never leaves Western Angler editor Scott Coghlan blue in the face. The seasoned fisher loves catching the sportfish when he’s in WA’s north and the species is the focus of this week’s Scott’s Species, written exclusively for Recfishwest’s website.

Species: Bluenose salmon, Eleutheronema tetradactylum

Eating: 4 star

Description: Filaments behind gills make them easily identifiable. Blue salmon have four pectoral filaments, while threadfin have five.

This aggressive bluenose took Recfishwest Programs Manager James Florisson’s lure, near Broome.

Something of a little brother to threadfin salmon, bluenose salmon, also called blue and blue threadfin, are nonetheless a fun sportfish in their own right. They are generally found from Exmouth north, but in recent years have been encountered much farther south at times.

We were also surprised to find a variety of blue salmon at the Cocos Islands. Broome is a stronghold for them, as they are caught regularly in Roebuck Bay, including in Dampier Creek and along Cable Beach.

Interestingly, although they appear a very mobile species, research has shown that there is little movement between local stocks, even when there is no obvious barrier to movement.

Some people call blues the tailor of the north and the comparison is apt, as they also turn up in groups and are a speedy fish that likes to pounce on unsuspecting baitfish.

On a recent trip to the Kimberley, we regularly had our barra sessions interrupted by fish smashing bait on the surface, and it inevitably turned out to be packs of marauding blue salmon.

Blue salmon grow to more than 1m and 15kg globally, but a maximum of about 80cm in WA waters.

Bluenose of this size are a staple in WA’s north, however, they grow much bigger in other parts of the world.

Most caught will be much smaller than that and 1kg to 3kg fish are most common.

They are a good fighter with speed and propensity to jump, again like tailor.

We’ve usually bumped into blue salmon in small creeks and shallow water, which is their favourite hunting ground.

This makes them a target for either shore or boat anglers.

They will happily take most baits and lures, although I would argue the latter approach makes the most of what they offer on the end of a line.

Western Angler editor Scott Coghlan tempted this bluenose on a popper.

They aren’t usually fussy and will hit most lures, including bibbed minnows, stickbaits, soft plastics and vibes, as well as poppers.

Blues can also be a lot of fun on fly gear. They are often caught while casting lures for barramundi, as they often hold in the same locations.

Working lures fast is not a problem for blues as they are ferocious predators and aren’t deterred by hunting in dirty water.

They are usually a clean fighter so heavy tackle is not needed, and a 7kg-9kg spinning or baitcaster outfit appropriate for the type of fishing being done should be ample for catching blues.

Some slightly heavier abrasion resistant leader is also a good idea, especially given the possibility of hooking a barra or threadfin

Blue salmon are regarded as excellent eating, especially fresh, with tender white flesh and good-sized fillets with few bones.

Bluenose are a fantastic land-based option in the State’s north, as shown by Jade Relph.

Scott’s Species – red emperor, a fish worthy of the throne

Red emperor are fittingly named, given the species does indeed sit atop the throne for many demersal fishers in the northern half of WA, writes Western Angler editor Scott Coghlan in this week’s anticipated edition of Scott’s Species.

Species: Red emperor, Lutjanus sebae

Eating: 4.5 stars

ID: Striking red colouration, with bands down the side.

Brenton Cartledge with a lovely red emperor off Dampier.

Often when visitors arrive in places like Shark Bay, Exmouth, Carnarvon and Onslow the first thing they want to know is where to find red emperor!

However, such information is rarely shared freely as locals protect their prizes spots.

Reds are found from Kalbarri in WA north and across to southern Queensland. They can grow up to 22kg, but few are seen more than 15kg and most fish will under 10kg.

Coral Bay produced the red emperor goods for Caleb Moore.

The best I have seen, at the Mackerel Islands, was around 12kg. They are usually encountered in depths greater than 20m, often from 50m to 70m, and often encountered in schools around reef edges and bommies.

Surprisingly good reds can be caught in water around 20m deep, so you don’t necessarily need to go really wide to find them.

Drifting around likely spots is the usual approach but anchoring and burleying is also productive and I have seen this work very well at the Mackerel Islands for Darryl Hitchen.

The key with reds is to get them off the bottom quickly when hooked as they are a powerful fish.

WATCH: Red emperor schooling at Exmouth’s King Reef

Due to this, main line of at least 23kg is favoured, with heavier leader. Sadly, sharks are also an issue in many spots where reds are prevalent and can make landing them very tough if not impossible at times.

Braid is the best option for the main line, as it lessens the bow in the line caused by fishing at depths.

Standard boat fishing tackle will suffice. Bigger fish are often encountered after dark and this is a great time to fish for them if possible.

Popular baits include squid, octopus and pilchards and they definitely appear to bite better on bait than artificials.

Weighted soft plastics also work, but red emperor are not as responsive to metal jigs as many other demersal species.

This red emperor off Broome put a smile of Jade Relph’s face!

Scott’s Species – tailor, tough predators with razor teeth

From beaches, to rivers and estuaries, tailor are a special species that many WA fishers value dearly, especially for those based along the State’s west coast. In this week’s edition of Scott’s Species, Western Angler editor Scott Coghlan writes about the favourite near-shore species with razor teeth.

Species: Tailor, Pomatomus saltatrix

Eating: 3 stars

ID: Blue-green back and silver underside, the first of their two dorsal fins has many small spines, and strong lower jaw with numerous small teeth.

Western Angler editor Scott Coghlan with a tailor from the kayak, near Denham.

A popular recreational fishing species globally, tailor are primarily an inshore species and are found from Exmouth in WA across the southern side of the country and into lower Queensland on the east coast.

Known as bluefish in the United States, they are an ultra-aggressive opportunistic predator that often travels in schools and a long-time favourite with Australian anglers, especially from the shore.

They grow to 14kg, but fish of that size are very rare in WA and any tailor above 3kg is a ripper.

At the bigger sizes they are known as ‘jumbos’ or ‘green backs’ and 20lb (just over 9kg) has long been the benchmark for a true trophy tailor, while smaller fish are known as choppers.

Recently, a 12.8kg fish was caught in Wilson Inlet by a commercial fisherman. That would have eclipsed the State line caught record from near Steep Point back in 1981.

Mad-keen fisher Max Sampson with a tailor from the Swan River.

There are certainly some big tailor around Shark Bay and there have been big ones caught around the salt ponds in that area. These fish are not as strong and powerful as ocean fish though.

Dirk Hartog Island is a haunt for giant tailor as are the cliffs near Steep Point. The biggest fish I have seen caught was taken near Steep Point while spinning for pelagics.

Around the Murchison River mouth in Kalbarri is another noted big tailor spot.

Like the Denmark fish mentioned earlier, big tailor also get taken quite regularly along the south coast.

I pulled a jumbo out of a school of salmon on a popper, much to my surprise, east of Esperance many years ago.

Tailor favour periods of low light for hunting their prey and as such dawn and dusk are peak times for catching them.

They will bite at other times of the day, but they are generally most active at sunrise and sunset.

In the summer, juvenile tailor — like this one from the Collie River — can be found in big schools in many rivers and estuaries in the State’s south.

A bit of chop on the water is generally preferable to totally calm conditions, and for metro beaches the arrival of the afternoon sea breeze in summer can be the start of the chopper tailor bite.

They are often found around reefs, where they ambush predators among the chaos of the white water, taking opportunities to feed as they present.

Tailor can be caught from beaches and shore reefs, and also can be found along offshore reefs that feature breaking waves.

Chopper tailor are also caught in big numbers in estuaries and rivers, including the Swan River.

Tailor are generally a light tackle proposition and casting outfits of 4-6kg will do the job, although you may need to upgrade to 10kg-15kg gear for chasing true jumbos.

Check out this 94cm tailor caught north of Perth. Picture: Perth Fishing Safaris

Their sharp teeth means a small length of heavy leader, or even wire, is a good idea to prevent bite-offs and they will happily take baits such as whole of half mulies, whole whitebait, strips of mullet or whole bluebait.

An appropriately sized set of gang hooks should be used to match the bait. Use as much weight as is necessary to get the bait to the fish.

From the beach this could mean a large star or spoon sinker, while from a boat around reef it may mean an unweighted rig.

Big tailor experts like baitcasting whole garfish. They are willing lure takers and will hit metals, minnow lures, stickbaits and poppers with incredible gusto.

They put up a good fight, often jumping when hooked, and usually fight clean, even in reefy areas.

They should be bled immediately after capture if they are to be eaten, and should always be eaten fresh as tailor flesh does not freeze well.

Kalbarri is known for producing big tailor, as proven by local Tom Berry.