Tailor Bluefish: Bluefish, Green Backs, Elf, Tailor or Skippies

Tailor Bluefish: Bluefish, Green Backs, Elf, Tailor or Skippies

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

Tailor Bluefish Alternate Common Names;

In the United States, they are called bluefish or green backs. In South Africa, they are known as the elf. While in Australia, anglers usually call it tailor.

Sometimes incorrectly spelt as “tailer” or “taylor”. It’s popular nicknames are chopper or green back. Finally, in Victoria, they are called skipjack or skippies.

Family Classification: Pomatomidae.

Tailor bluefish is the only extant species of the family Pomatomidae. A marine pelagic fish found around the world in temperate and subtropical waters, except for the northern Pacific Ocean.

Gnome fishes are included in the Pomatomidae family, however, these are now grouped into Scombropidae family.

One extinct relative of the tailor bluefish is Lophar miocaenius, from the Late Miocene of Southern California.

Identification Characteristics:

Moderately elongate compressed body 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. In addition to a powerful streamlined frame. So well suited to the turbulent waters of surf beaches.

It is greenish to bluish above and silvery below. Although silver in colour, the 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. US species are larger with a darker top. Therefore referred to as green backs.


Tailor bluefish make use of a wide range of habitats. From the upper almost fresh-water reaches of estuaries, bays, harbours and inlets to inshore locations. Also, beaches with well aerated white water. In addition to shallow 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 the eastern seaboard. As a result, tailor needs 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 a tailor.  In addition to blue bait, fish flesh, garfish, live minnow, pilchard, pippi, poddy mullet, prawn, squid and white bait.


Fished in a variety of ways. First of all, light weighted pilchards and garfish rigged on ganged or linked hooks. With gang-hooked rigs and under cork floats. When casting distance on the beach use with heavier sinkers. Also, 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. By using a cast and retrieve techniques.


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