Tips to Catch Jewfish in Australia

Nick Whyte talks about how he identifies Jewfish on the sounder and reveals secrets on how to catch this type of fish consistently.

Mulloway or Jew are found all the way around the southern half of Australia from Southern Queensland to Exmouth in Western Australia. They are commonly referred to as the “ghosts” of the sea. Jewfish can grow to a massive 40+kg in weight and up to 180cm in length. Jewfish can be a species that tests even the best of anglers with plenty of hours spent on the water with fruitless results.

In my home waters of Moreton Bay Mulloway have become one of my favourite targets. These silver ghosts inhabit a lot of different areas and structures. They love bar and river entrances, wrecks, submerged timber, deep holes, gutters, rock bars and mussel beds. This is where having a good sounder and knowing how to use it comes into play. Not only are you going to use your sounder to find fish but also the structure they will hold to or around.

Jewfish are a schooling species and sometimes can be found in massive schools with well over 100 fish. What I tend to find is they will hold in similar sized fish schools. If you find a school and catch an 80cm fish the rest of the fish will usually be within 5cm either way in length. As you move up in fish size the school size will usually drop significantly. Once you get fish around 120+cm they will usually be in small numbers may be up to 5 or 6 fish even roam solitary.

A big school of 90cm Jewies

By marking fish up on the Sidescan you can use your cursor on the target, zoom in tight and this will also enlarge your range scale at the bottom of your screen. You can use this to more accurately gauge the size of your target be it a fish or structure. Zooming in on targets will also help you define species or shapes of species. Jewfish are a long species that are not very tall so will mark up like a long thin bright line and leave a longer but shorter sonic shadow. A Snapper on the other hand is a lot shorter length fish but taller in height so will leave a fatter but taller sonic shadow.

I find using DownScan will always give you the clearest reading and best target separation. But sometimes I find Jewfish won’t give a very strong return and can quite easily be missed if not paying attention. For this reason I always run my 2D sonar beside my DownScan as the larger sonar cone will give a lot bigger and stronger return which really helps get your attention and keep you on the fish.

Jew marking up on DownScan and 2D sonar.

Insight Genesis is an invaluable tool with helping find the area’s these silver ghosts frequent. Fishing rocky ledges or deeper holes in your system is made so much easier with the great up to date detail that these contour maps offer. Spend the time driving around to sound out the fish. It’s no use fishing where the fish aren’t. Remember to record you sonar for your own detailed Insight Genesis maps while you’re at it.

A tightly packed school of mulloway. Notice the waypoints all congregated on the rocky edge of the hole on the Insight Genesis map.

When targeting Mulloway I like to use l paddle tail soft plastics from 4in through to 8in. I like the paddle tail presentations as they are always working whether on the lift or the drop. With the right jighead selection the paddle tail profile will also give you more hang time in the fish’s face. Large soft vibes are also a great lure for Jew with the subtle presentation usually yielding the best results. No need to rip these lures, find the fish on your sounder and work the lure at the appropriate depth to keep it in their face. My go to lures for Jewwies would be 4in Zman Diezel Minnows or 6in Swimmerz. Zerek Fishtraps or Jackall Tranzams in the soft vibes.

Nick Whyte

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