If you are fishing in the Gulf in October and then you should put barramundi are on the shopping list from now until next year.
East Coasters are also staring down the barrel of the annual barra drought but life must go on. It’s time to focus on big, black jew that fight hard, look good and taste great.
The results of a good wet season have been obvious over the past couple of months. There have been a gazillion spotty and doggy mackerel around out the front. The wet season brought a massive supply of food with it and the predators have followed. The big fingermark have hung around and a few big grunter are also making an appearance. There has been so much food on the inshore grounds that blue salmon and mackerel have been making pigs of themselves and taking lures 10 miles out to sea.
The barra came good in August and September, especially in the rivers and creeks. Some anglers lucky enough to gain access to more remote areas reported catching and releasing 200+ barra in less than two days.
Black jew are just over-sized bream – they are scavengers. They like their food fresh but aren’t really fussy about what form it takes. Fresh, oily baits like mullet, either whole or filleted, can withstand the onslaught of pickers. Shark flesh, fresh fillets of catfish and squid are other great baits.
Whatever gear you use, make sure it is in good condition. Big jewies fight like champions and the first run can be a ripper. Lumpy drags or old rotten line will only result in lost fish. Rigs don’t need to be on loan from NASA, a 60lb trace will be fine. Jewies have small teeth for grabbing and holding food but not for cutting through line. Either a simple running sinking above the hook or a trace rig will be adequate.
Jewfish like to hide in deep holes. They’re a viable target all of the time but prefer to get out of the run and feed along the deep edges of their holes. The bottom of the neap tides are even better times as some of our ‘double tides’ only have a few centimetres difference between the high and low tide. This allows the fish to feed out of the current for longer.
Fish the edge of the deep water. If a run is occurs, let it run and stop. When it takes off again, strike and hang on. Sometimes black jew will stuff around and other times they hit like trains. Trim the filleted baits so they have an apex. Once the hook is placed in the bottom half of the bait, tie a half hitch around the apex so the flesh doesn’t bunch up on the gape of the hook.
Jewies off all sizes, once located and in the mood, eat lures like barra and fingermark. Jigging soft plastics like the bigger SWIK Soft Plastics and Reidy’s Shads will work and Prawnstars are another successful method. Another deadly idea is jigging a metal jig. Plastics that weigh 40g are heavy enough in the 20-30ft Gulf waters around the jewie spots near Karumba. Let the lure hit the bottom and then jig it back to the boat – jewies just love the rip and flutter. The SureCatch 40g gold Knight is a ripper as well as Halco Gold Twisties. Silver lures also work well but the gold seems to land more.
Black jewfish have a minimum size limit of 60cm and a maximum of 120cm (same as barra). Also, only two 1m+ fish may be kept. This is so the big jewies can breed in peace. Jewfish are nice on the plate in their smaller versions and freeze very well.
This month’s award goes to the bloke who sent me an email saying that if Fisheries management thought there was a problem with bag limits that they would act. He then said they must have enough data to make informed decisions about fish stocks.
Just move out the way while we all roll around on the floor.
With the untimely death of Steve Irwin, one of Australia’s greatest conservationists and wildlife warriors, it goes without saying that most of us were just gutted by the news. I don’t know about anyone else but it was like losing a mate. I know that our house plays a very large amount of the Animal Planet, especially TheCrocodile Hunter and thankfully we will be able to see it for years to come. We’ll never have another Stevo but we can at least keep his ideals alive and care for what is around us. The way he touched the next generation and passed on the message of looking after the environment will mean his character will live on.
CROCS STILL RULE!Reads: 1933