Tailor Bluefish


Tailor Bluefish move in schools along inshore coastal waters and estuaries, slicing through schools of bait fish with their razor-sharp teeth. Their ferocious appetite, schooling behaviour and distribution close to shore make them an easy catch.

Scientific Name: Pomatomus Saltatrix.

Alternate Common Names:

In the United States it is called bluefish or green backs, while in South Africa, it is known as elf. In Australia, anglers usually call it tailor sometimes incorrectly spelt “tailer” or “taylor”, or use its popular nicknames of chopper or green back. In Victoria, tailor are sometimes called skipjack or skippies.

Family Classification: Pomatomidae.

Tailor/bluefish is the only extant species of the family Pomatomidae. It is a marine pelagic fish found around the world in temperate and subtropical waters, except for the northern Pacific Ocean, gnomefishes were included in the Pomatomidae family, however these are now grouped into a separate family the Scombropidae. One extinct relative of the tailor/bluefish is Lophar miocaenius, from the Late Miocene of Southern California.

Identification Characteristics:

The Tailor has a moderately elongate, compressed body that is covered with small ctenoid scales. It has large forked caudal fin with broad lobes and small pectoral and ventral fins, both upper and lower jaw have numerous strong, sharp teeth and the lower jaw protrudes. With these attributes of a missile like shaped head, a large forked tail and powerful streamlined frame are well suited to the turbulent waters of surf beaches.

It is greenish to bluish above and silvery below. Although silver in colour, tailor can display a green, olive or even a bluish tinge along their backs. Their fins are a pale green with a tinge of yellow, their US relatives are the larger species become darker on top and are referred to as green backs.


Tailor make use of a wide range of habitats, from the upper almost fresh-water reaches of estuaries, bays, harbours and inlets to inshore locations, beaches with well aerated white water, same with shallow reefs or onshore reefs,even to the edge of the continental shelf and possibly beyond .

Their ferocious appetite, schooling behaviour and distribution close to shore make them a very easy catch, however beaches or bays with gutters are not as common along the west coast of Australia as they are on the eastern seaboard, as a result tailor need to seek for other opportunities to feed in deeper waters at the end of rips.

On a number of occasions during the spawning season in spring they release eggs and milt.


Southern blue pilchard are the standard bait for tailor, others are blue bait, fish flesh, garfish, live minnow, pilchard, pippi, poddy mullet, prawn, squid and white bait.


Tailor are fished for in a variety of ways, light weighted pilchards and garfish rigged on ganged or linked hooks. These gang-hooked rigs can also be used under cork floats, or with heavier sinkers when casting distance is required on the beach, or bottom rig and sinker, bait casting around a reef wash, or fishing from a boat.

They will strike a wide range of trolled chrome slices, spoons, lead slugs, minnows, jigs and flies using a cast and retrieved techniques.


Related posts