Jewfish come out at night
  |  First Published: June 2004

OVER the past few years, catching jewfish on lures in estuaries has become very popular.

Most people think that only adults can fish for jewfish with lures and that you need expensive tackle and a well fitted-out boat. That’s not true. There are quite a few good opportunities for juniors to catch jewfish on lures in locations that are quite easy to access and fish.

Just about every large river or estuary system has a local wharf or jetty where large boats tie up when they’re not out fishing. Most times, these wharves have lights on at night and these attract baitfish such as small tailor and yellowtail and even squid, which are all good food for jewfish.

Fishing from these wharves is usually quite easy because they make good fishing platforms and are fairly close to the water. If you have a local wharf similar to this which might produce jewfish, it’s definitely worth fishing there for jewfish with lures at night.

Catching jewfish around wharves requires heavy tackle to keep them away from boats and pylons so you need an 8kg to 10kg rod around 2.5 metres long. You can use a threadline or overhead reel with several hundred metres of line but be sure to use a few metres of heavy trace material around 15kg.

Large soft plastic lures are popular with jewfish and anglers and these include Storm, Squidgy or Panther Martin lures from around 10cxm to 15cm long. Diving minnow lures also work well at night around wharves and something around the same size that dives to several metres deep is fine.

Fishing for jewfish involves spending a lot of time with a lure or bait in the water so don’t expect to hook or catch one on your first cast or even on the first trip. You’ll probably have to put in a few trips and a lot of casts to hook one.

Fishing around the full moon is a good time to encounter jewfish. Cast into deep water and work the lure slowly for best results. Be sure the single hook or trebles are extra sharp and don’t tighten you drag up too much so a fish can run when hooked.

Take it easy when the fish gets in close around the wharf pylons and be sure to take a gaff that’s long enough to reach the water at low tide.

Catching jewfish at night from wharves is a two-person job because you usually need your mate to help land a fish. Two lures in the water are also better and it’s usually a great night out.

Remember to take plenty of warm clothes as it can get chilly out there from now on for the next few months. And, as always, tell a responsible adult where you’re going and what time you expect to come back.

The author’s Uncle Mark with a night jewfish taken on a soft plastic lure.

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