Tailor (Pomatomus saltatrix) are a pelagic, fast-swimming predator fish with a strong, and streamlined body. They have two separate dorsal fins and a forked tail and their large jaws stretch back beyond the eye with a single row of prominent knife-like teeth. Tailor move in schools and follow behind bait fish chomping as they go. Larger tailor are found on offshore reefs and are said to rest during the day in deeper waters. At dawn and dusk they begin their main feeding runs close to shore.
Tailor are considered a ‘vulnerable species’ by the WA Department of Fisheries. They are of course loved by recreational fisherman as they are fun to catch and I certainly enjoy eating them. It is worth saying that you don’t have to catch your bag limit if you don’t need them! We are rapidly fishing-out our waters and I’m a great believer in only take what you can eat for the day. Tailor don’t freeze well, so either pack up once you have caught a couple or release them back.
The schools tend to sit just behind foaming surf, so if beach fishing you need a decent rod to cast beyond the breakers. Look for a good gutter that leas back out to the ocen and you have found your spot. I generally catch Tailor with mulies off the beach just after dawn but others use metal lures in other situations with success.
If you look around on forums you’ll find quite a few comments that Tailor are tasteless and crap. I don’t share the sentiment and if cooked fresh they are great. The other thing (like salmon) they need to be bled straight away on the beach and preferably packed on ice. I often wrap them whole in tin foil with butter and garlic and bake them in my BBQ. We also pan fry fillets using cold pressed olive oil with a little lemon and a tablespoon of chopped parsley.