Well, what a crazy and devastating summer it has been throughout most of Queensland. I think all of us were watching the news coverage in absolute disbelief of what we were seeing and it even progressed to the worst level with lives being lost.
Naturally the last thing on most of our minds has been fishing but once things settle a little and people’s lives come together again, many will be thinking once again about wetting a line. In many cases this will be important as a means to simply de-stress, take some time out and get back to some sought of normality.
The Queensland floods also brought about some mass destruction to our beloved dams. Lake Monduran and Awoonga were in full flood and many trophy fish were lost over dam walls which has been shattering to those who love to fish these locations. The good news is, is that the dams have been re-stocked and although it may take several years the dams will once again be superb fisheries.
The rivers have also copped a battering from Mother Nature and my local river at Noosa is a filthy chocolate brown colour and is anything but inviting. This poses the hard question of what species to fish for after these floods?
Well, if there is one species of fish that seem to become easier to locate with all the dirty water around it would have to be Jewfish. They seem to really enjoy the dirty water and use it to their advantage in their feeding habits. For the guys (predominantly in Northern NSW) who are lucky enough to live near the big breakwalls of river mouths this is the time to get out and chase those big silver trophy fish we all dream about.
My Jewfish sessions normally take me out to the ocean rocks and this can be a more of a challenging environment to fish. The first very serious question you must ask is, is it safe to fish..? Common sense must prevail and there is no point at all in placing yourself in any sought of danger.
What you need to look for is some nice dirty water with a sensible amount of wash creating some white water which the Jewfish like to use as cover.
After times of flood it can be particularly good as the water dirties up nicely creating a foamy, dark environment that Jew really love. This aids in shelter and also creates a good hunting environment for them with plenty of cover.
My preferred method of fishing these locations is with soft plastics and hard bodied lures. Although I have enjoyed success on a variety of lures the standout lures by a country mile would have to be Berkley’s 7 inch Gulp Jerk shads. The method of fishing them is quite simple with a slow hop/roll off the bottom but it is important to know your area and work out just where potential snags may be. I have found the Gulp Jerk shads extremely effective on ‘School’ size jewfish and although the bigger 15kg plus fish love them also, stopping them can be a very difficult task when fishing the ocean rocks.
Selecting the right gear is the next piece of the puzzle for this type of fishing and the only real way you can be fully prepared is to carry more than one outfit.When the swell is up a little or extra casting distance is required I commonly use a 9ft rod which is matched up to a 4000 size Pflueger Patriarch Reel.On this outfit I run 30lb ‘Stren’ Microfuse Braid which sees you deal with most school size fish very nicely.
When the swell is down a little it is quite possible to use what we all commonly now know as ‘Snapper outfits’ while fishing the rocks.These outfits are rods in the vicinity of 7ft in length commonly, with a rating of up to say 10kg.
Although a 7ft rod would usually be considered ‘short’for any rock fishing application there are times when you can quite easily use these set-ups and to be honest they are very comfortable and work plastics with ease.You do need to be mindfull that you lose some of the clearance around the base of the rocks that the longer rod provides.Once again judge this on the conditions of the day. My favourite outfit for this is again in Pflueger’s ‘Patriarch’ range and the rod I am using is the 7ft Model rated 7-12kg.Over this I run lighter braid with 20lb ‘Stren’Microfuse my choice.This line has excellent casting qualities and handles abrasion quite well which is more than handy around the rocks.
For those wanting to chase Jewfish in our rivers concentrate your efforts around the mouths while the rivers are in flood.Bouncing soft plastics (with Gulp 5inch and 7inch Jerk shads being my pick) is an extremely successful technique here too.Find where schools of baitfish are holding and you can be very confident that Jew are not to far away.
Fishing after these wild Queensland floods will take some perseverance and patience but there are still very viable targets for those willing. We all need to make the best of the bad situation and Jewfish fill the ‘Target species’ list very nicely.
Story by Peter Morris for Pure Fishing.