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Sydney Articles: DAYLIGHT JEWIES, by Craig McGill.



Jewies don't fight particularly well for their size, they don't jump, they are not common and they are nothing special on the table.
So what's all the fuss about.? Why do dedicated jewie fishos spend hundreds of hours for relatively few fish and probably just as many hours dreaming about them? 
Unfortunately it's a question that I can't answer in words. To know the answer you have to be peering over the side of the boat at the precise time a big jewie materializes from to the depths and glides to the surface. You have to be there as it lays on the deck with shades of gold , bronze and silver glisten through a purple \pink hue.You have to smell them.

Ive never caught many really big jewies probably because I only fish daylight hours. This article relates specifically to chasing them during the day and Im more than happy to concede that you will probably catch more and bigger jewies at night.
Im also happy to admit that techniques , best tides and baits etc could change for night fishing , but I doubt it.
Most of my experience chasing jews is in the Sydney area , particularly Sydney harbour Cowan and Berowra creeks.Im pretty sure though that these techniques should work else where

Ive given live baits more than a fair go. For three years I swam live yackas along side my squid baits and in that time the yakka never got taken. Some times we would have jewies on all three squid baits at the same time and the remaining yakka would go untouched. Land the jewies ,re bait with squid and drop them back down right next to the yakka and the squid would get hit almost instantly. 
To drive the point home , let me fully clarify what went on below the surface. A large school of jewies moved in under my boat. There were four baits to choose from , three squid and one yakka. The jewies took all three squid and left the yakka alone. At this point you could be excused for thinking that there were only three jewies down there. But when we dropped another three squid baits down and caught another three jewies , it became obvious that there was a large school down there . Still the yakka remained untouched . The jewies ranged in size from three to six kg so they were more than capable of swallowing the yakka. This scenario was repeated on many occasions. I wont go as far as saying that jewies don't eat or like yakkas but I know for sure that if they have the choice they will always choose squid before yakka. 
Of course if you only ever use yakkas then you will pick up the occasional fish. Yakkas do not get the school as frenzied as does squid. By using yakkas you will have fewer successful sessions and when the fish do show up you will get less fish in that session
It is very important at this point to clarify that when I talk about Squid Im definitely referring to squid that you have caught yourself and is no less than six hours dead .Preferably the squid should be kept alive until just before you cut it up
To prepare a squid for bait refer to the diagram. The best cuts are the head and the guts but the strips are also very good. Squeeze the ink sack on the gut just before lowering it to the bottom. The ink is your major source of burly 
Be careful not to let the baits bunch up on the hook . They must hang freely and naturally in the current, If they bunch up they will spin.
Live squid can be good baits but like in the scenario with the yakka , it is amazing just how many times jewies will ignore a live squid and choose the cut baits.

Best tides are around the turn of the high and the first two hours of the run out. Second best tide is the turn of the low and the first two hours of the run in.


I have caught jewies in the middle of the day on the right tides but the best times are when the high peaks early morning or late afternoon. You will find that this occurs around the full and new moons. New moon is best for early morning and into the day fishing .Full moon is best for late afternoon and into the night fishing.


During daylight jewies are less active and generally go into ‘Holding' mode . Holding is basically a period where jewies don't do much and stay stationary. Jewies prefer to hold with their backs to some sort of structure and their eyes in the shade. I actually believe that they are resting at these times. I think that they like their backs to the structure to avoid attack from predators from behind
Ideal hang outs include under deep water marinas ,boat moorings, bridges and jetties .Shelving rocks and caves. found on the steep faces of reefs or headlands are also good spots. Wrecks that offer shelter are also worth a look. Areas where water eddies either horizontally or vertically are good signs as are deep holes and channels. Rocky shorelines that drop rapidly into deep water are good and if they occur off a point where there is some form of eddy this is even better 
Keep an eye on your sounder for steep drop offs particularly if there appears to be overhangs on those drop-offs.

Suspending the bait properly is critical . If it lies on the bottom it is both hard for the jewie to find and is prone to pickers. In shallow water situations ( less than 25 ft)it may be necessary to cast well away from the boat . In this situation your bait will have to rest on the bottom. In most cases where the water is at the preferred depth of between 30 and 60 ft it is acceptable to suspend the bait straight under the boat. The boat will not worry the fish in these depths. 
Let your sinker hit the bottom and then pull it up about three meters. With a one and a half meter trace your bait will be suspended at one and a half meters above the bottom.
When the fish takes the bait hit it immediately. A lot of people recon you should let them run before striking but in my experience this looses more fish than it catches.
If a big fish swims off with your bait there is only one place he can be holding it and that is in his mouth. If your hook is in the bait then it too is in the fishes mouth. If the hook is in the fishes mouth then I cant imagine why you would want to do anything other than strike.
Talk of jewwies swimming around with your bait in its lips for a hundred meters then spiting it out and sucking it back in again before swallowing it is just garbage.
They are a big , hungry and aggressive animal . They wolf a bait down aggressively and then if all is not right , go about the process of rejecting it. 
I fish with the rod in the holder , in gear with a normal drag setting. Ninty five percent of the time the fish is hooked as soon as it takes the bait. My experience with letting fish run for long periods before striking is that you will drop ninety five percent of them Once the fish is hooked then naturally it must be allowed to take line against your standard drag setting as with any fish . 
To back up my theory , I know professional line fishermen who use exactly the same technique when chasing jew. They fish from springers and the fish is hooked instantly. These guys make their living from fishing and Im sure that if there was a better method of catching jews then they would be doing it.
Being a big schooling fish they are also very competitive. Most times when they hit ,it is with the veracity of a school of tailor , usually with all the rods going off at almost the same time. It's a wild scene down there
If Jewies fooled around with a bait like some people suggest they do it would be snatched off them by another fish before they knew what had hit them. 
So the longer you give them without striking the greater the chance that they will reject it. The hook , line, swivel and sinker will feel unusual to them and make the bait very hard to swallow. Even in free spool there will be resistance from water pressure on the line and friction of the line going over the guides.
In my opinion the longer you take to strike the more likely the fish is to reject the bait.
You hear guys talking repeatedly about their last jewie session and how they had six jewie ‘runs ;but just couldn't hook them.They go on to say how they let each fish run for longer than the last in the hope that they will swallow the bait
The key word here is ‘runs' and in fact the longer the runs the less likely they were to secure a hookup. Every second a fish has a bait in its mouth is another second it has to reject it

They don't fight much so 10kg line should be ample. 15 kg would be appropriate in you are targeting really big fish
The choice of tackle is not critical but a threadline or overhead with a capacity of about 250 yards on a matching rod would be close to the mark

The sinker should be big enough to hold the line vertical in the current. It is put straight on the main line and a swivel is then tied to the end of the main line. A nylon trace of 15 to 20 kg and about 1.5 M long is then tied to the swivel the hook described in the diagram is then tied to the end.

Although jews can be taken all year round the best times are through the warm water times. I find November and December
to be the prime months at the start of the season. April and May, marks the end of the season and is probably the best time of all. The summer months in between these peak periods are good and the fish are abundant but generally smaller.

Keep your Jewie trips short and efficient. Sitting there all day or all night really doesn't increase your chances that much. The average 
trip only needs to last four hours --- one and a half to catch squid half to get to the spot and get anchored up properly and two to catch a few jewies. The chances of catching any after that are so slim its hardly worth the effort. 
Get the right bait , be on the right spot at the right time and I think you will be surprised how soon a jewie comes your way.


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