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Thread: Guide to Jewfish

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Wollongong, Australia

    Default Guide to Jewfish

    Common Name: Jewfish, Mulloway.
    Scientific Name: Argyrosomus japonicus
    Max Size: 200cm (about 70kg)
    Record: 39kg
    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.

    About Jew.

    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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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Wollongong, Australia

    Default Re: Guide to Jewfish

    The Shot

    Any spear gun will land a jew! Everyone has a preference. Some prefer points, others prangers, some like 1 metre euros, others like a double banded 1.4m timber. Depending on whether you are hunting Jew in caves, white water, deep reef or on sand lines, it is your call on the weapon.

    With the bomb dive -
    Pranger: aim for the spot above the head a little back from the eyes, the jewel box. This hurts them.
    Point: a shot straight down that will come out near the throat is good. Be very wary of the shot, a lot of divers have missed or lost jew with a poor shot down the side of the head with this approach, as the fish begin to sway their head side to side if they detect you are above them. Frustrating really.

    Side on approach -
    Pranger: NEVER shoot a Jew in the cheek or head with a pranger, guaranteed to pull out, a good holding shot is in the shoulder pointing towards the head this also concusses the fish somewhat. Always try to avoid shooting a Jew in the back half of the body, as you will lose many. Causing much pain. To you.
    Point: avoid a classic kill shot as you would attempt on most other species, if your shot is a little high the spear tears through the Jewie remarkably easy when placed high up in the shoulder. A good shot with any big fish is behind the gill plate and above the pectoral, and towards the head or down to the throat.

    Anticipate where the fish will swim into your spear, and when dealing with schools shoot the first fish that swims into your spear. Too many times a diver has ended up empty handed by moving his gun, whether it be the movement or the rubber vibrating through the movement, or the diver's eyes moving.

    More about Jewies

    Look. Listen. Learn. When spearos, linos or even bubblies talk about jewies you will learn something. Depth of water, habitat and terrain, what bait used or seen, tide, current, wind, moon, LOCATION, time of day, time of year, schooling fish, solitary fish, size of the fish, what the fish did. Although most divers won't give up their favourite holes for love nor many a lot will pass on thereabouts information, which is enough to get you started. Keep a diary/log, all serious spearos should, before you know it 10 years have passed and you will have an amazing comprehensive record of top spots and marks.

    When you are about to secure your catch, be aware of these fishes awesome gill rakers, they are bloody sharp and unwary hands take some extracting. If you go for the choker keep your hands in along the cheek.

    The Jewel Box& is placed at the top of the head behind the eyes; it resembles an apricot seed in shape. Inside this box are the jewels, ivory in appearance, many spearos keep their jewels as a tally count, and some divers wear them as jewellery. There is a knack to opening the box without breaking the jewels.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Wollongong, Australia

    Default Re: Guide to Jewfish

    Jews will break off and hunt in packs, later to regroup into a super school, which may number many hundreds, even thousands. It is worth following swimming stragglers, they can lead you to the super school.

    Big Jewies are females.

    Headland Jew are a lovely golden, bronze colour. Sand Jew are silver. Deeper reef Jew are a darker bronze, big ones appear black in the water, this is not a rule of thumb however.

    Some divers can smell Jew, from the surface, particularly on calm days.

    Jew in schools will mouth each other's tails. So they know where they are going?

    When Jew are beginning to be caught at one headland you know of, there is no reason why they won't be caught at other headlands nearby. Some spots just turn it on more than others.

    Be cautious of where you anchor, don't make a splash if you can help it.

    Why is Xmas Day so good for Jewies? Is it the big tides we experience?

    If you spook jew, they have got to go somewhere, find out where, some divers can dive a stretch of reef and know they will come across their fish again and again. Do the time and you're over the line.

    When you find an area that has jew consistently, you will begin to recognise fish by their scars, or tail markings. Be aware that you can knock a hunting party around significantly, grow with your school, study and learn the behaviour and reactions of these fish, so you are able to find more fish in other locations.

    The NSW record is 39.235kg speared by G. Kelly at Swansea on the 3rd January 1976.

    Make sure you take several photos of your catch; otherwise your mates will call you a bullnuts artist.

    If you have the opportunity to meet divers the calibre of Pucko, Greg Smith and Paul Riordan, ask them where they are spearing their Jew. They will tell you.

    Good Luck and Good Hunting. Trippey.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Wollongong, Australia

    Default Re: Guide to Jewfish

    Bonus Info via Barelylegal:

    my general rule is that every headland is a motel for jews to stop off at during the day.? just work the whole headland top to bottom. get as deep in the wash as you can the more bubbles the better. the south sides of headlands are generaly always the best. also after a good fresh they tend to come out of the rivers. just check everywhere ive shot them in water so shallow i had to pull the butt of the gun out of the water. good luck with them.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    where do you think


    very good info, thanks
    thought a should post a thankyou so the thread does not die

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  6. #6

    Default Great info!!

    Hey guys I have been spearfishing for a little while now and have recently studying up and hunting for my first Jew. I am trying so hard and yet to get one. However this information is top quality and is helping me a great deal. Thanks for posting the info! When I do get my first Jew I will post pictures and may even give locations! But if anyone is from the Wollongong area and would willingly give up some secrets that would be great! Thanks for reading guys! Great thread.

  7. #7

    Default Jew has been overfished should be/will be a no take species

    The theory tends to be find a jew hole and wipe them out, It is recreational not commercial that is the problem too

    There is heaps of evidence including anecdotal, of how many there used to be. example

    People should target more sustainable species and give the Jews a chance for recovery

    Jewfish are very vulnerable if you want to see lots of big ones dive a marine reserve

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