Black Jewfish (Protonibea diacanthus) once commonly found throughout South East Asia have become rare in all but the seas around northern Australia. A prize catch for Aussie anglers, they can grow up to 150cm and weigh up to 45kg. Recently we took out Paul Worsteling from Channel 10’s iFish to show him how we catch a Jewie up here in the Top End of Australia.
Black Jewfish can be found in the deep holes of estuaries, around rock bars and in the mouths of creeks, but out here on the Cobourg Peninsula we target this species on the rocky reefs before the turn of the tide. Drifting over the reef, Jewfish will have a crack on a range of baits and soft plastics, with some of the more aggressive fish taking the bait before it even reaches the bottom! Live bait is the most deadly weapon out on reef, and mullet are easily found around the local beaches, the only issues we have with using livies out on reef is the other species that we often hook up first.
Working soft plastics on the bottom is another good way to target a big Jew, we fish along the reef ledges using a slow lift and drop action. Our favourite plastics out here on the Cobourg Peninsula are the Berkley Squid Vicious Gulp Lures, the Jewies love them! They are a water based biodegradable soft baits with delicious flavours like Nuclear Chicken which is our go to for the Black Jew. Be ready as these are aggressive predators. After they locate your plastic you'll often feel a tell-tale 2-3 second sucking feeling (the Jewie kiss!) then a very aggressive bite and run where your reel will be screaming!
Multiple hook ups are common when fishing for Jews, where there’s 1 there’s often 2 or 3!
We catch Jewfish all year round on the Cobourg Peninsula and have healthy populations that nearly always come in one size; BIG! So make sure you check out the video above - it will get you dreaming about getting out from behind the desk and on the water with us instead ;)
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