Caught by Accident


When I say caught by accident, I mean I wasn’t fishing for Jew. I was hoping for a beautiful reef fish like a Coral Cod or even just a Grassy Emperor. I had a standard drop line rig with a pilchard on three gang hooks. The sinker was heavy enough to reach the bottom, about 40 metres down.

My fishing style was a little average; that is with my eyes closed and feet up on the gunnel of the boat. With no action at all for what seemed like an eternity, I was starting to think that the only thing I was going to get was a fashionable sock tan. That was until I’d had enough and reeled my line in to check the bait which I figured had dissolved into a paste by now.

I had pulled in more than half the line when it suddenly felt heavier. ‘Ooh, ooh’ was all I could say as the line began to jerk around, I had something.

It had been over twenty years since I caught a Jewfish and so I didn’t even recognise it. After a quick photoshoot for identification, I let him go, in hindsight, that was a mistake. I think it was a legal size too, but let’s just say it wasn’t, that’s why I freed him.

Once back home, I found out some interesting facts about the Jewfish. I caught mine in the middle of the day and had no idea what the moon was doing. But apparently, if you are after the big Jew, it’s best at night around the tide change and four days before or after the full moon.

  • They are scavengers and predators.
  • They eat fresh and dead baits like pilchards, prawns, fish fillets, squid, whole fish, etc.
  • Legal size Black Jew in Qld in 75cm. Teraglin Jew 38cm
  • Occasionally they can be found in deep holes of estuaries, around rock bars and in the mouths of creeks.
  • Offshore is where you would get the big fish from 75cm to 150cm.
  • You can best find them in deeper areas although they still move to the shallower headlands and islands.
  • If using lures, working them slow produces the best results.

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