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JEW ON THE CHEW

Ryan Dixon

Since the 2011 Queensland floods jewfish numbers in South East Queensland have soared, with most creeks and river systems holding good numbers of jewfish (mulloway) at different times of the year.  Fishing for jew is rapidly rising in popularity, with most lure enthusiasts eager to catch one over the magic metre mark.

Jewfish (mulloway) are a schooling species that can be caught on a wide variety of lures, from surface lures to big deep diving crankbaits, lipless crankbaits, soft plastics and even on fly. However, I find that the best way to target them is to cast a well presented soft plastic.

When choosing the right soft plastic to use I try to use one that will best imitate the baitfish that I think the jew (mulloway) are feeding on. In a river and creek situation when the prawns are running, I will use a ZMan 3" Scented ShrimpZ or ZMan 4" Scented ShrimpZ. Again when in a river situation, when I think they are feeding on mullet or tailor I use a ZMan 4" SwimmerZ if the bait is small and will upgrade to a ZMan 6" SwimmerZ if the bait they are feeding on is bigger. The ZMan 5" Grass KickerZ and ZMan 3" MinnowZ are also a very effective paddle tail style lure that will entice hungry Jewfish. When there are plenty of garfish or pike around I will choose either a ZMan 5" Scented Jerk ShadZ or a ZMan 3.75" StreakZ and I will alternate between the two until I get a bite. 

Other soft plastics that I have found effective are the ZMan 4" StreakZ Curly TailZ, 5" GrubZ and even the 2.5" GrubZ. When choosing a jighead to rig my soft plastic on, I look for a hook that is sharp yet very strong, as a jewfish has the potential to crush a weak hook with its powerful jaw. The HeadlockZ HD range of jigheads are perfect as they are built especially for ZMan soft plastics and are built on a brutal Mustad chemically sharpened hook.

I've found the best retrieve for jew involves choosing a heavy jighead and giving the soft plastic one big hop off the bottom, making sure it comes back into contact with the bottom between hops. However, if in the mood jew will pounce on a quickly retrieved plastic and will also eat off the surface.

Trying to locate jewfish is not often easy, but can be made easier with a good quality depth sounder. Drop offs, deep holes and shallow bays out of the current often hold plenty of baitfish and are perfect hunting grounds for jew. Generally anywhere that holds baitfish sees the potential for jew to not be too far away. For land based anglers, spots that hold plenty of bait fish or deep holes are a good start, with most creek bends having a decent size hole on the outside bank. After heavy rain, when a river or creek is in flood, is also an extremely good time to target jew, with dirty water lines where the saltwater meets the fresh being a hotspot to target them.

Jewfish feed better during hours of low light, with the first hour or two after sunrise and before sunset being the best times. When trying to locate surface feeding jewfish, marinas, bridges, moored boats, jetties or anywhere that has plenty of lights at night time is a good place to start. This is due to the lights often attracting baitfish.

Although the winter months of the year are the best time of the year to target jew, they can be caught year round and can often be targeted at the same time as when chasing flathead. The size of most jewfish in rivers and creeks ranges between 50 and 90cm, however fish over a metre in length are not uncommon. Hopefully this article provided you with some useful information on chasing jew, whether you have chased them before or are eager to give it a go!

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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2017