As we enter the depths of winter, bitterly cold westerly winds have arrived with a vengeance, forcing many anglers to seek refuge indoors. Despite this, the rewards are there for those willing to brave the cooler conditions.
The winter months are typically one of the best times to target jewies on lures in the local estuaries. Whilst many things contribute to success in this game, focusing your efforts on three key factors will hold you in good stead.
The first point of focus is structure.
The first point of focus is structure. In a big city like Sydney, structure comes in an array of shapes and sizes. Whether it be man-made structures like bridges, wharves and wrecks, or natural structures like rock walls, reefs, creek mouths, drop offs and ledges, jewies love structure.
Not only does it provide them with shelter from strong current and bright sunlight, it also attracts smaller baitfish. This leads us to our second key to success…
As the old saying goes, find the bait, find the fish!
Like all predatory fish, this most certainly applies to jewies. Whether it be mullet schooling on the edge of a deep hole, hordes of whitebait along a rockwall or prawns congregating at a creek mouth, if you can combine suitable structure with a plentiful bait supply, you can just about guarantee that there’s a jewie or two in the area!
Where the bulk of the bait is will vary according to time of year and general river conditions, so be willing to move around in order to find it! This is especially important in large systems such as the Hawkesbury River.
Also worth mentioning is that it’s worth targeting large concentrations of bait that are in seemingly open water well away from obvious structures. It’s commonplace to find schools of jewies on big bait balls and beneath tailor schools, so keep an eye out for birds and surface activity!
The third and final factor is tide.
The truth is, there is no magic bullet as far as tides go that applies to every situation. Some degree of experimentation will be required. As a starting point, focusing your efforts on periods of less tidal flow is advisable. During slack water, baitfish tend to move away from structure making them more vulnerable to predation. Unsurprisingly, jewies are particularly active during these times, taking advantage of vulnerable baitfish whilst exerting minimal energy due to less tidal movement. Having said this, jewies can still be caught during the ebb and flow in many situations.
Increased tidal movement forms large back eddies, providing jewies and baitfish with an easy spot to sit out of the main current. As such, casting lures into these places can yield excellent results. Generally speaking, jewies sit hard against structure when the tide is running, so don’t be afraid to let your lure get right in the thick of it!
So there you have it… Structure, bait and tide. Keep these three things in mind and you’ll be well on your way to finding a few silver ghosts this winter!
Jewfish Gear Recommendations
Line & Leader
As the cool Westerly winds begin to chill us to the bone, as a rock fisherman, my mind starts to drift from summertime pelagics, to the local wash zone.
That small strip of whitewater surging between boulders, up gutters and over ledges.
This is the home of those stocky, broad shouldered brawlers that I love, The Black Drummer, Rock Blackfish, or simply Pig.
Have you ever thought of taking up flyfishing? Perhaps you thought it was too hard? Too
expensive? Too complicated? Too mysterious? Or maybe you thought it just made catching
fish too hard? The answer to almost every flyfishing question is that “it depends”. In the
case of most of these statements, they are not true.