Hit the Tarpon early Friday morn but lost the only 2 hooked (and a Bigeye) then realized the the hook had no point probably due to an earlier snag, headed out to the north wall but there was already a half dozen boats there chasing small Tailor etc so headed up the northern channel but only found more Tailor.
Fished the tide change dodging boats in the "Y" for a couple a little Jewies then spent the arvo searching the northern channel from wavebreak to the Salmon bank but apart from more Tailor found nothing exciting.
Headed back to the Seaway on sunset and pulled a 60cm Tarpon on about the 3rd cast, that was enough and back at the ramp by 7.
P.S What a ripper day for the middle of winter.
Stick baiting Whiting
Did a couple of hours down Coombabah creek with a mate (Mick) specifically looking for whiting on surface lures, we only managed 3 whiting and a Bream all on 50mm River 2 Sea rovers, the fish were all small but a lot of fun none the less and certainly worth some further exploration, what was interesting was that both Mick and I missed massive strikes on the small lures, both failed to hook up and both of our 6lb traces had raspy rub marks so we're thinking GH or Tarpon so weather permitting we'll be back next weekend.
This also got me looking for a fix to see me through till then so I headed to another nearby spot the next morn with the 2kg mono bait gear and in 2 hours managed 1 66cm GH with another lost, several Bream to a kilo and a very nice 50cm Sea Mullet which made me glad I left the 1kg gear at home, interesting that the Mullet was taken on a small cube of salted Tailor.
The gear is nothing fancy just a 20 year old rebound ugly stick, fairly cheap Pflueger Trion 4725 (which is closer to a 1000 size than 2500) and spooled with 2kg Platypus pretest. It still amazes me what you can get sitting on a grassy bank a short drive from home and no boat or expensive gear required, the hardest part is putting in the time and effort to find the spots.
Might kick off my first post with a bit of a profile on Hairtail.
These grow to around 2400mm and around 6kgs and although they're not the greatest fighter they are beautiful yet mean, they release well if handled carefully, eat well if your so inclined (scrub the scales off with a scrubbing brush then fillet) and offer a bit of variety to your catch.
They'll usually move in with the winter bait schools (Sprats and Hardyheads) in late April and hang around till the water warms up again around Oct-Nov.
This species is quite often encountered by bait fishermen in the Broadwater but relatively rarely landed as they will make short work of any mono that even goes near their mouth.
The best methods of capture are either lure or bait, for bait fishing the ideal rig is a single Occy hook of around 2/0 on a short length of 27lb single stand wire (100-150mm) and either a s/s ring or #8 black swivel for attaching the main line. Anchoring and burleying is important in bringing the fish to you and will quite often result in fish flashing through your burley trail right at the stern, a good stern light is also a great help in bringing the bait fish to your boat wich in turn will bring in the Hairtail. For baits I prefer a small cube or strip of flesh or a whole Hardyhead which is floated unweighted down the burley trail or if there's no current cast out and allowed to slowly sink.
Lure fishing for Hairtail is very simply a matter of slow trolling (around 2 knots water speed) a suitable lure through their regular haunts, highly reflective lures give the best results at night (when they're most active), I prefer the Rapala Xraps but there are plenty of others out there, look for shallow running lures around 100mm, smaller lures are ok as well but should be run on wire unless your rich, deeper running lures are better when there's still a bit of sun on the water, troll your lures about 30-40 meters back. Fly fishing will take them as well and works best when anchored and burleying, small white deceivers on a short length of wire fished on 6-7 weight sink tip and 3-4kg tippet is ample. You can also site cast in these situations so it pays to have a bit of an arsenal rigged ready to go, just keep in mind that Hairtail are a surface feeder though they rarely break the surface so poppers and sliders (stickbaits) are less effective.
Hunting them down is not that difficult once you learn their habits, they will travel with the currents and follow the bait schools up and down the Broadwater but prefer to feed in areas where they can sit out of the current and wait in ambush. A sounder is a must in locating the bait, from there you look for areas that may form an eddie such as canal entrances, corners, bends, drop offs and holes (you may as well troll while ya looking) a good starting point is the Seaworld basin.
Landing Hairtail is an art form all on its own, they have reverse gear and are long so netting is very difficult, they are light and thin for their size so gaffing is hard and definitely out if your planning on releasing the fish, so this is where it gets interesting, I go for the grab behind the head, just like snake handling, it's not that hard but you need to be committed and don't forget they swim backwards, good luck with that one ; ).
Lastly it should be noted that all the above techniques will take good Tailor at this time of year (and often the bigger ones), I've also taken Jacks, Mulloway, Bream, Cod etc with these techniques and they're not complicated or fancy, great rigs for the novice who'd like a shot at some decent fish.