The Mighty Mulloway!

They’re one of the prized species of the Australian East Coast, the mighty mulloway or jew, the silver slab! Whether you’re chasing them from the beach or rock wall, in the estuaries or offshore, there’s not many better sights in fishing than a big silver ghost hitting the surface. Chris Raimondi shares his passion and tips for chasing these might mulloways in this article

Fortunately for yours truly, residing in Brisbane means that there are a stack of options for chasing these magnificent fish right on my doorstep. Sure, we don’t tend to catch the monster 140cm+ jew as regularly as our central and northern NSW counterparts but the sheer options for chasing mulloway in south east Queensland certainly makes up for it.

For land based anglers, particularly those surf casting the beaches, a big mulloway really is the Holy Grail. The beaches of the Gold and Sunshine Coast commonly hold big jew, particularly in the cooler months when the gutters fill with large numbers of migrating tailor and baitfish.

Double Island Point and Fraser Island are perhaps the best locations for catching mulloway from the beach in Queensland. The rugged nature of this part of the coast lends itself to deep gutters and offshore predators tend to push huge volumes of bait fish up against the coast line to feed.

This is the perfect scenario for chasing a big jewie off the beach. Choosing your gutter is the biggest decision you’ll need to make.

Typically, big jew will enter surf gutters to feed during the late afternoon and evening so it pays to make your way along the beach during the day, taking tidal conditions on board and choosing a likely deep hole to fish in that evening. Return there in the evening with medium to heavy surf gear at your disposal. Bait selection is key and natural bait to the area is your best option.

Tailor, mullet or dart fillets are a good place to start but often the humble beachworm, heaped onto a single 8/0 hook will be just as effective. Use a surf sinker to anchor your bait in the deeper water, trying not to let the surf and tidal conditions wash it towards shore.

Sit tight, be patient and when you get the bite, let the fish mouth the bait and really digest it. Set the hook and go your hardest!

The estuaries and river mouths are also a great location to chase jew in south east Queensland. The lower reaches of the Brisbane River have become a popular spot for anglers chasing silver. The abundance of man-made structure, deep water and tidal flow make it perfect for chasing mulloway and threadfin salmon in particular. Using your sounder to locate bait and predatory fish is the key in this scenario.

Once you find the fish, there are a number of techniques you can employ to entice a bite. Vertically dropping plastics and vibes to the bottom is probably the most popular Brisbane River technique. Typically a jewie will hit a lure very close to the bottom, so use your electric motor to lock you in position above a school and work your lure accordingly.

Live baits will of course be effective in certain scenarios, particularly in low light periods and so will flesh baits to a lesser extent. Areas of Moreton Bay will also hold good numbers of solid jew, as will the major estuary systems like the Gold Coast Seaway and Jumpinpin as well as the Maroochy, Nerang, Caboolture and Pine Rivers.

Offshore, mulloway tend to school up in areas not far from the coastline or headlands. They’ll inhabit reef systems, chasing bait similar to how they would in an estuary.

The techniques for targeting mulloway offshore mirror those that you’d use in a river mouth scenario however other factors like stronger currents, swell and wind conditions can make things a little trickier. Look to target water depths of 20-30m with plenty of reef and plenty of bait in reasonably close proximity to the coastline. Areas adjacent to Moreton, Fraser and Stradbroke Island’s tend to hold large numbers of mulloway, presumably moving up and down the coastline, feeding on bait schools on the reef and in surf gutters before heading into deeper water to spawn.

Locating these schools is the key to catching them in numbers with lightly weighted baits a really good option if lure fishing is not for you. Flesh baits like mullet, squid and pike will work, as will the humble pilchard. Light soft plastics are dynamite though with 5 & 7 inch Zman Jerk Shadz a good place to start.

Depending on wind and current conditions, anything from a 1/2 oz to 1.5oz jig head will do the trick, keeping in mind that jew will tend to feed close to the bottom. Pink seems to be a good colour but if they’re on the job and your jig head weight is right, soft plastic colour is almost irrelevant.

Live baits offshore will work better than anything on mulloway especially on dark and throughout the night. Live pike, yakka, slimy mackerel and pilchards will all be smashed by big jew. At this time of year, we’re lucky to catch a lot of jew as snapper by catch in south east Queensland with both species feeding in similar water depths during the cooler months.

There isn’t much better than catching snapper throughout the afternoon and then with the same techniques, bringing a few jew on board after dark. Unfortunately mulloway caught offshore in depths of greater than about 15m don’t release particularly well so only catch what you intend to keep and eat as these great fish are too good to waste.

Jewies, mulloway, silver ghosts, call them what you want but one thing is for sure; they’re one of Australia’s most prized fish. Whether it’s from the beach, in the estuaries or offshore, every jew is a pretty special accomplishment. Catch ya!

Chris Raimondi

About Chris Raimondi

Chris Raimondi is a Brisbane based angler who's passion for fishing began in the estuaries chasing bream and whiting with his dad and grandfather. These days, Chris spends the majority of his spare time fishing offshore of South East Queensland anywhere from Cape Moreton to 1770 chasing snapper, red emperor and other reef species. Despite getting offshore at any opportunity, Chris also loves nothing more than chasing snapper on plastics in the shallows of Moreton Bay and prides himself on being an 'all rounder'.

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