Most of you are thinking of sleeping in, warm beds and catching up on work around the house. Scott and I are thinking about layers of clothes, packing the thermos and making our way up river through the fog. Don’t get me wrong it is bitterly cold but when you hook a good Jew on a soft plastic it is well worth the effort.
The outfit I prefer to use is a 7ft 3” Starlo Stix teamed with a 2500 Stradic loaded with 6 to 8lb braid and a 12 or 20lb leader. We have caught Jew on the light bream gear before with smaller plastics but it is easier to throw the bigger lures with a stronger outfit and target the larger fish.
Once you have selected your tools, now is the time for the lure choice. We have caught School Jew on 3inch plastics and light jig heads but the larger fish have come on 100-120mm sized lure. Lure preference for me would have to be either 100mm Squidgy Slick Rig in Drop Bear Colour or Black and Gold, 140mm Flick Bait trimmed down a little in Yakka Colour or the 100-125mm Squidgy Pro Shad in White Lightening colour. Team these plastics with a Squidgy Resin Head 5g jig head and you have the perfect Jewie Bait.
As you are heading up river the environment you are looking for to start your Jew fishing is deep holes adjoining sand banks or “flats” and or structure such as Bridge Pylon’s. Bait is a vital key. The Jew are not going to be there if there is no bait.
In my experience Jew will bite best on either the slack of the tide and or the start of the run in or end of a run out. Get to know your river. The time of the tide change will differ from the mouth of the river to the top of the river. So get in the habit to start timing when the tide has stopped in your particular location so you can work out your best times to fish.
Mix up your retrieves. Most of our successful hits from Jew come from a double lift of the lure and then as the lure pauses and starts to sink the Jew will nail it. If this particular method is not working then mix it up, try one slow lift and sink or a constant roll. It will depend on the mood of the fish and what will trigger the strike.
Once you have hooked up, good luck. Jewfish will normally do some good runs with some amazing head thumping action. It is the best, feeling those head thumps through your rod knowing you have the fish of the day on. Fight it using a smooth action and letting your rod do the work. Be patient as a Jew will eventually burn off all of its steam and tire. Then before you know it, it is laying beside the boat waiting for the net.
Handle with care. If you are planning on releasing your fish you need to handle your fish correctly. Lift it gently into the boat. If you have a fishing partner with you make sure they are ready with the camera. These fish tire so put it back in the water regularly whilst taking photos. Support your fish when holding up under the belly, don’t grab it by the jaw and hang it. When releasing your Jewfish hold your fish in the water until it is ready to kick off. If it is struggling you may have to swim it to get the water flowing back through its gills.
Don’t be disappointed if it takes a little while to get your first Jew. Believe me it will take practice and time on the water. But once you do land your first Jew on a plastic you will be hooked for life.
Vicki Lear is a self confessed fish-a-holic and works as a real estate agent to support her habit. Far from being a “one trick pony” she excels at many diverse styles of fishing from land based game fishing to offshore gamefishing. As well, she kicks most guys butts at Bream and Bass fishing.
Read more of Vicki’s stories here