by Brad Morante
Everyone these days is hopefully aware of how limited our fish stocks are and that we need to “limit our kill” not “kill our limit”. I like to make sure I use every part of the fish I take and the harvesting method I will describe below ensures my precious catch is fully utilised. It also provides a handy big bait for jew.
The tailor is a very underrated table fish and is actually my #1 choice as a fresh feed . They don’t lend themselves to freezing however and are best eaten fresh out to 3days max. It is imperative that they be treated with respect as soon as they come out of the sea to ensure they are at their premium when they hit the table. Always carry an ice slurry (ice mixed with sea water) in an esky onboard and place all fishimmediately in the slurry after capture,straight off the hook.I firmly believe the tailor’s less than ideal rating as a table fish has come about by the fact that more often than not they spend some time after capture laying in the sun on the sand at the beach .
Follow the steps bellow to turn 1 fish, into, two boneless fillets, one fish biscuit and one Jewy, shark, snapper or crab bait.
What’s a fish biscuit I hear you ask? This is the frame of the fish and is nearly always thrown to the pelicans but only by those not in the know. Trust me, take the ‘fish biscuit’ home and give it a good amount of time on the bbq plate with a bit of olive oil ,cracked pepper and a squirt of lime juice or vinegar and you will never throw another one to the pelicans. They can get their own!!
1. Scale the whole fish.
2. Make a cut from the bum down to the spine then follow the spine towards the head exitting where the shoulders meet the head.
3. Take off the two fillets.
Using a big bait like this helps to avoid the pickers. Even if the smaller fish pick all the softer belly flap and guts out of your bait you are still left with a solid head bait with plenty of appeal to that big beach jew. I exclusively use the Gamakatsu octopus patterned hook,a pair of them actually snelled together in 8/0 size for the bigger baits down to 6/0 for the smaller baits. As you can see in the photo I like to use the top hook to close off the mouth. This stops the bait filling up with sand when fishing on the beach. The bottom hook I like to leave almost fully out of the bait and pinned somewhere around the fins, this is the firmest part of the belly area .