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ginko

Hairtail

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A few weeks back, I hit a spot just outside Jerusalem Bay on the run-out tide where one of my boys caught a nice little jewfish just after dawn.

I thought I'd try again today, armed with fresh squid and tailor fillets (caught last week, and vacuum frozen).

Hit the spot very early, and burleyed up. The sounder was showing fish everywhere, but no bites at all for more than an hour. Even the pinkies still seemed to be asleep. It was pretty cold, even with a beanie and three layers of winter woolies on.

So I was glad when the sun peaked over the horizon, and I was just starting to think about switching spots when the reel zzzz'ed for a moment. It stopped. I waited, nothing else, and when I wound it up, the squid was gone. On goes a big fat slab of tailor, and down she goes, 15m down and 5m above bottom. A minute later, zzzz - nothing - zzzzzz - nothing --- nothing again -- zz! At this point I carefully take the rod out of the holder, and wait to feel the weight come on. But - only a very light tug. So I reel in a bit, and now I can feel a big pull... hard, steady. Then nothing... then on.. then nothing. and so forth, until one very surprised hairtail came over the side of my boat.

149cm, not too bad for an early season catch.

Caught on an un-weighted slab of tailor, #6 circle hook. The circle hook caught in the gill-rakers, and the hairy's teeth had nearly sliced through the 80lb trace.

No other bites for the rest of the day - but probably because I went to spots with better scenery than fishing.

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Well done on the hairtail mate, good to get in early before it becomes a carpark around there.

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Wow a nice looking fish do they taste any good? I thought they used wire but I suppose modern technology has advanced somewhat.

Do they hole up in Brisbane waters?

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Nice catch ginko! Was out in waratah bay last night chasing them with no success. Water seemed a bit warm. There was about 6 other boats looking for them too but know seemed to have any luck.

Cheers scratchie!!!

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CapnMac,

They are nice to eat, but only if over one meter. They have many bones, but on the bigger specimens these are easily avoided. Streaming is the best way to cook, since it is ready to ruin such a slender fish in the skillet. This fish feed two adults and two kids, with s big fillet still in the fridge.

Scratchie,

Indeed, water is very warm still. Very clear too. A fair few baitfish. I wonder, is the hairtail season getting longer? I caught my pb in October last year, and a guy caught a massive one I the Harbour in December.

Çatchin Jack, nobody out this morning. No big boats, and only a few other fisho's. But I remember one really morning last season when Warratah Bay was like a disco, gin palaces with blue lights and huge stereos. But this morning was like aweekday. Even the kayaks had little competition.

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Hey ginko. I think the hair tail patterns have been very unusual. I caught a hairtail in late November that went 178cm. Was really shocked, only to hear of them being caught in port Macquarie as well. I thought they only lived relatively local to the Hawkesbury and surroundsand found around winter months? I'm a bit perplexed too! Maybe a fellow raider can shed some light on their patterns?

Cheers scratchie!!!

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Scratchie,

I think hairtail are globally distributed. I was surprised when a friend who grew up in the Carribean recognised my last hairtail as a "cutlass fish" (and recommended that it be cooked up in a soup). Apparently, it is the same species, and it makes sense that such an ancient-looking fish should have spread through the world's oceans.

There was also a post (I think in this site) from a Queenslander whose estuary was plagued by hairtail year-round, to the point where he could not catch his target species for all the hairtail.

But it does seem that the last two years here have been very good, not only for volume of fish, but size too - 178 is a whopper by any standard. I got my pb 162 in October/November last year, and now this one a respectable 149cm. Much bigger than the ~1m models I'd landed up until that point. My last two big models were caught at dawn, in deep water that was holding a fair bit of bait.

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i used to chat bucket loads of these in newcastle. so it's not just hawksbury..

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i used to chat bucket loads of these in newcastle. so it's not just hawksbury..

Hi gianniz,

I'm local to Newy and would love to know a few spots up here for hairtail. I have a boat or landbased not fussed but I enjoy targeting them.

If you could pm some locations would be great!

Cheers scratchie!!!

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Hi gianniz,

I'm local to Newy and would love to know a few spots up here for hairtail. I have a boat or landbased not fussed but I enjoy targeting them.

If you could pm some locations would be great!

Cheers scratchie!!!

hi there gianniz apparentley newcastle harbour is full of them somewhere around the basin

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Guest hawkesbass

Hairtail have been caught in sydney harbour botany bay and during the day aswell my boss lives on the brisbane river in qld and gets them over the two meter mark at times

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i'll ask my dad tonight but it was land base, it where theres heaps of breakwater structures all along the walk way.

You fish the left hand side for hairtails. As you walk further (it's a long walk) you can catch more :) lol.

When they are on they don't muck around, they smash everything... nothing like the sneaky buggers from hawksburys.

I also found when they are in this frantic mode, throwing metal slices works the best, even at night! :)

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Definitely an early season.

Like last year season started I'm told in fed/ march i hope it doesnt end early. My last session last month managed to get a few nice fish with many many more lost. Still haven't got em all worked out with the hook up rate yet.

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Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

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Guest mike2153

What sort of set-up do you need for hairtail? Strange lookin things they are

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What sort of set-up do you need for hairtail? Strange lookin things they are

Have a look in the chat section! Some good rigging advice recently!

Cheers scratchie!!!

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Guest mike2153

Oh cool cheers mate!

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they have definately been on for weeks now, i got some in JB about 5 weeks ago and brained them last weekend in WB

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