Guide to Jewfish
Common Name: Jewfish, Mulloway.
Scientific Name: Argyrosomus japonicus
Max Size: 200cm (about 70kg)
Range: QLD, NSW, Vic, SA, WA.
NSW Limits: 5 fish per day, 45cm minimum. Only 2 over 70cm.
Lacking much first hand knowledge Ive cut and pasted Trippe's mega post on Jewies!
Jewies: Everything you wanted to know, and more.
Guys a few pointers on Jewies, garnered from mine and a few good mate's experiences, maybe you might think it is a crock but we've speared a few. Hope it can help someone.
Mystery does surround the Mulloway, Argyrosomus hololepidotus. To NSW spearos they are deemed an almost holy fish, spiritual, an enigma. Something that everybody wants a lot of, but not everyone can get. Call them the Holy Grail of Fish. Think I am talking it up, I think not. When the conversation turns to Jewies have you noticed that an almost reverent tone is applied by the huddle, and there is a sudden hush from the crowd, as everybody, everybody strains their ears to learn more about this magnificent fish. They are truly a most splendid specie, and I think most divers if they have not already, will have spent hundreds of hours in search of this sometime elusive quarry by the time their mask fogs up on that last occasion.
Where to find them.
I once asked one of Sydney's top competition spearos who was having a good run on the Jew, where he found his fish, his reply. Jew are where you find them. I told him not to give up his day job!
Look for big schools of Bullseyes that are out the front of overhanging caves and ledges. Jewies can be half asleep under the Bullseyes or in the cave. Look hard through the bullseyes in these caves.
Jewies like: a cave that has two entrances, a cave/gutter that has some sand out the front and a cave/gutter that has gritty sand in it. Caves that have those big Orange sponges in them are a bonus. Caves that have a clump of weed on top of them, other boulders and rocks may be sparse of weed, check the weedy one. Ledges that have several port holes along them, caused by rocks being spaced every few feet apart.
Look for bait, yellowtail, and pike. If you see Pike or yellowtail clumped together, looking nervous, tooth marks in them, be aware, if they are hovering above a group of boulders or a ledge, be very aware, this a good sign that Jewies are in the immediate area. Up north, schools of Tailor are a good sign, and Jew have been regularly speared swimming behind schooling Samson Fish. In Sydney's Northern beaches some divers swear by the presence of large schools of Black Drummer, others by Grey Nurse that have suddenly swam into your current diving spot.
Jew can be found in some real nursery spots, that is shallow, slack water, always keep your flippers under the surface of the water, do not splash about making noise. On the Nth Coast, you find a lot of Jew in white water, up in potholes in the shallows.
Listen. You will quite often hear jew before you see them, tune in for them singing/croaking. They sound like a warped frog. Also you will hear the thump, thump, thump of their tail beating as they move about. The sound of a school of big jew moving is something akin to being at the Grand Prix.
Jewies love to feed before a storm, so if you able jump in to a spot before it gets too rough. In Sydney, there are several known holes that turn it right on when there is a southerly blow.
How to land them:
Jew in schools are often hard to approach, as they may be constantly swimming in a rush formation from one point to another; swimming in a catfish pattern; just seem plain wary of what is going on around them. You will find that size normally varies throughout a school and that the biggest fish in the school are often together, and will quite often be the closest fish facing up current, a good gauge of size is the depth of the shoulder on the fish. Jew by themselves or in twos and threes are normally more approachable and not as timid.
On schooling jew: if you are able to, swim with the current, dive well before the school and cruise along the bottom with the current. Jew will normally swim up current if disturbed and you will have them swimming towards you. If you have a nice mark or drift buoy out, and you miss the school first pass, try not to swim up current behind them, or dive hard on the middle of the school, you may be lucky however chances are that you will have opened the school up, put the wind up the fish and they will bolt up current. Just go back to the start of your drift and try again, even if they have seen you if you have not spooked the fish they will be in the same area.
On small schools and single fish: As mentioned these fish are more approachable and a bomb dive from above can work, or a good stalk along the bottom will prove just as fruitful. A theory is that single or small schools of jew become stranded from the main school while hunting or having been hunted, they may be waiting for their brethren to come back, or they have been dazed by being tail swiped, or pushed into a boulder by a member of the school and are collecting their wits again. Maybe they are just bloody tired. It is always worth checking every cave in the vicinity if you have spooked a school. Some fish will always hole up.
Jewies in caves will generally give you more opportunity to select the fish and the shot you desire.
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