One of the fish you hold closest to your chest is the Mighty Mulloway like all good anglers do. Our first question is, what’s so rewarding for you regarding this species or this technique?
For me, there’s a series of things that make Mulloway such a rewarding fish to chase. Growing up, I’ve always had a deep fascination with these ‘ghostly’ fish, and as I’ve grown older this fascination has developed into what can only be described as an overwhelming addiction. I think what’s rewarding about this species is not only their complex and challenging nature but their versatility. From brackish creeks to offshore reefs, and everywhere in between. These fish are extremely widespread and susceptible to any number of techniques. There’s always a new challenge!
Living in Sydney, the vast majority of my fishing is estuary based. Whilst I love the challenge of catching these fish in urban environments, nothing excites me more than prospecting the many headlands dotted along the North Coast of NSW. There’s something special about wrestling a solid fish out at close quarters with two feet firmly planted on land.
It’s always been believed that Jewfish favour certain conditions. Is this true?
Mulloway most certainly favours specific conditions. Tides, moon, barometer, time of year and rain all play a huge role in their behaviour and whereabouts. Having said this, there is no rule book! The only way to catch them is to go fishing. Try new things and respond to hunches... You may surprise yourself!
For someone who’s starting out chasing mulloway what would be your biggest secret to working out a river system or rock ledge?
I don’t think there’s any ‘one’ secret in Jewie fishing. It’s more of a gradually developed mindset that brings consistency to your fishing. If I was to narrow it down to one point of focus, it would be bait. Find the bait, find the fish. It cannot be stressed enough. They’re never far from an abundant supply of food, so if you can find where the bait is holding in your local river system then you’re in with a good chance!
Let’s say you're fishing one of your rock ledges along the east coast of Australia, how would your session start/end?
I’d be lying if I said many of our rock missions hadn’t started with a 30-minute car sleep in the middle of nowhere... The things we do for a fish! All jokes aside, a typical morning session usually starts with a rough wake up and a zombie drive / walk to the chosen destination. If we’re feeling especially adventurous, maybe a Maccas coffee to start the day!
The crisp morning air and echoing sound of a solid swell tends to wake you up pretty quickly once you reach the ledge. I like to be rigged up and fully prepared by this stage, and ready to fish!
If all goes to plan, a few silvers will play the game and scratch the perpetual itch. After that, a well-deserved breakfast becomes the priority as we start to plan our next move!
There are some common misconceptions with current and tide changes for river mulloway. How do you believe tides affect fishing for this species, and the techniques used to catch them?
Analysing the impact that tides have on mulloway is quite a complex issue. What I can say is that there most certainly is a misconception surrounding tide changes. There’s no denying it, fishing slack water periods can be extremely effective on mulloway and is often the best time to try when in doubt. They break cover and roam nearby areas looking for a quick feed at these times. Despite this, what many people don’t realise is that they do still eat when the tide is running, and are debatably easier to find. During periods of high flow, jewies will often tuck into the structure and enter holding mode. Whilst they mightn’t be feeding as active during these times, a well-presented lure will usually get a bite! The tides merely determine where and how you fish.
When chasing Mulloway in rivers, what’s your favourite technique?
My favourite way to target mulloway in estuary systems would have to be casting at actively feeding fish on the surface at night. Hearing and seeing a Jewie boof bait off the surface makes me weak at the knees... Whether it be a shallow-diving hardbody, swimbait or fly, this style of fishing ticks all the boxes for me.
When chasing Mulloway off the stones, what’s your favourite technique?
In my opinion, slow rolling a large paddle tail soft plastic is by far the most versatile way to chase mulloway off the stones. The bites are often brutal and easy to detect with a tight line. Rolling a plastic allows you to cover ground quickly if searching for fish in a larger area. You can vary your retrieve speed/rod angle to determine the depth at which the lure swims. This is particularly handy when it comes to avoiding snags!
What’s your most memorable fish and why?
There’s been a few memorable fish, but one that always comes to mind is my first big mulloway on a lure from the stones... Many casts were put in, but the adrenaline coursing through my veins as I slipped my hand into the gills of a fat 121cm mulloway is something that I’ll never forget. We’d lost a few fish of that calibre and bigger previously, so the sweet smell of victory (literally, covered in Jew slime) was more than welcome. A very fond memory!
EXPERIENCED AND WRITTEN BY TOM CRITTENDEN
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We recommend our 12-20lb and 15-25lb rods for chasing estuary mulloway! The high-end Japanese graphite and high-quality components are super lightweight. With a super-fast action, these rods are enjoyable to fish with!