Peter’s Top Tips For Brisbane River Jewfish

  • Brisbane River jewfish can be caught all year around, any time of day and any stage of the tide. That said, the better months tend to be through spring and early summer. Jewfish seem to sense impending fresh flushes and become more concentrated and active around the Port of Brisbane area prior to the fresh arriving.
  • It’s important to understand how the currents work. Some parts of the Brisbane River estuary actually experience stronger tidal currents during the neaps, and these are great spots to target jewfish.
  • The main trick is to locate fish using your side-scan sounder. Sometimes they’ll be schooled up facing into the current with the more active and aggressive fish at the front of the school. other times they’ll be individual fish or small groups of two or three.
  • A key to success if to drift past the fish while casting the lure at right angles to the current so that the lure and boat are drifting at the same speed. This gives a more natural presentation.
  • Around the docks, fish often aren’t as tight to pylons and other structures as many people suspect. Be respectful of the 30m exclusion zone around wharves. Set your side scan to 40m so you can see the wharf pylons as you drift by, but you’ll often find the fish well out from the pylons.
  • Once you’ve found fish, motor upstream and position yourself to drift past. After passing the school, motor to the opposite side, go back upstream and start the drift again. Don’t motor over the top of the school of fish.

Peter’s Jewfish Fishing Tackle

  • Peter prefers baitcast gear for this style of fishing due to the direct contact with the lure and the ability to fish it better on the drop. Due to the number of sharks in the Brisbane River, he fishes a little heavier than would normally be necessary to make landing fish faster and reduce losses to sharks.
  • A line class of PE 2-3 (20lb to 40lb) braid is ideal, with a rod length of 16-40lb leader fluorocarbon connected with an FG knot. Jewfish are not too leader shy.

Peter’s Best Jewfish Fishing Lures

  • Peter approaches his lure selection methodically, starting with the more aggressive lures and working down to more subtle approaches if the fish don’t play ball. With all lures described here it’s important to get the boat and lure drifting at the same speed so the presentation is natural.
  • The Palm’s Slow Blatt is an unusual lure for jewies but Peter has plenty of success with it. The relatively fast sink rates allow it to be worked through schools of fish even when there’s a bit of current or a bit more depth (eg 15m). Position the boat as close to the fish as possible when there is more current and depth. Deploy the jig and allow it to get to the bottom, then work the lure upwards no more than 1-2m off the bottom with relatively subtle lifts of the rod. Keep in contact with the lure as it flutters back down as that’s when most bites come. Slow movements are key, don’t work the lure too fast. Peter puts Yamashita Panic Bait skirts on the assist hook to encourage fish to hit the hook rather than the lure.
  • If fish aren’t responding to the Palms spoon Peter switches to a 23g soft vibe, which is fished in much the same way as the jig but with more gentle hops. He likes the Zerek Fish Traps and FLT Transams. The Transams require a hook upgrade to deal with jewfish.
  • If fish aren’t responding to the soft vibes Peter looks for a more subtle approach still and switches to soft plastics. He’ll start with a 1/2 to 3/4 oz jig head to start with but will work down to lighter jig heads if he’s not getting fish. One of his favourite soft plastic for Brissie River jewfish is the Live Target Fleeing Shrimp, which is a great representation of the local cherabin. These are almost dragged along the bottom with just the occasional flick of the rod.

Peter Herbst ProfilePeter Herbst

Fishing Journo and Tackle Guru

Peter has 30 years experience fishing Southeast Queensland and is a frequent contributor to fishing articles in Bush and Beach magazine. A former tournament angler, when he’s not on the water Peter now works for Australian tackle importer EJ Todd.

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