Mulloway or jewfish are the biggest and most highly-prized target species found in our southern inshore waters. In the concluding installment of our two-part special feature about catching jewies on Squidgies, Starlo gets down to the nitty gritty of how, when and where to target these challenging sport fish.
Make no mistake: mulloway or jewfish are peak predators, but they are also extremely aware of their surroundings and often quite cautious fish. By nature, they do a great deal of their hunting under the cover of darkness, in low light, dirty water or under foamy, aerated white water. However, they can also be caught in the middle of a bright, sunny day… if you get everything just right!
One of the other biggest tips I can give you for catching jewfish on Squidgies, especially during daylight hours, is to stress once again that these are relatively cautious and easily-spooked fish. There are exceptions of course (particularly in busy city waterways where all fish become more accustomed to boat traffic and other noise). But, as a rule of thumb, mulloway don’t like noise, fuss, boat traffic, rattling anchor chains or perhaps even the constant pinging of multiple depth sounder transducers painting graphic pictures of their submarine habitat. If you can avoid or minimise all of these things, I firmly believe that you’ll catch more mulloway on Squidgies. This has certainly been my experience. Even minimising the use of an electric motor and taking advantage of wind and tide drifts seems to noticeably improve my chances of success… Be sneaky!
I love nothing better than arriving at my chosen jewie fishing spot to find no other boats in the vicinity, a couple of pelicans hunting uninterrupted, and squadrons of unruffled cormorants and herons perched in the riverside trees. If I encounter this highly desirable situation (especially around a tide change) I’ll instantly slip into stealth mode myself; cutting the outboard a couple of hundred metres short of where I intend to start fishing and using the wind, tidal flow or possibly my electric motor (operating at very low revs) to creep slowly into the zone. If I know the underwater terrain reasonably well, I’ll even flick my depth sounder off on final approach. The jury is still out on the necessity of this last precaution but, in tough fisheries, I’d rather be safe than sorry.
My actual presentations for jewies are nothing special. Cast your lures beyond the area you want to fish, get them to the bottom and then work them with a series of lifts and drops or stops and starts. Try to keep the lure in the lower third of the water column throughout the retrieve and don’t go too fast. If you feel a tap or tick on the line, strike hard!
My message is simple: Catching mulloway on Squidgies is a truly remarkable and exciting thing. Daytime jewies on light tackle and soft plastics are extra special fish. Never take them for granted. But also believe that you can do it!
Some Sneaky Tricks
For more on catching mulloway and many other species, visit Starlo’s blogsite at www.starlofishing.com