Shea Cooper

Shea Cooper

Jewfish Specialist

Shea is a rising star of shore-based jewfish fishing. This unassuming young lure fisherman has fished the Coffs Harbour Area since he was a kid and in recent years has enjoyed plenty of success catching quality jewfish from the rock and headlands around Coffs Harbour on lures.

Shea’s Top Tips For Coffs Harbour Jewfish

  • Targeting jewfish from the stones takes a little figuring out, but once you get it right they’re a year-round proposition – despite the common belief that jewies are only worth chasing in winter.
  • Finding the right conditions is critical. Dead calm days don’t fish well, catching jewfish from the headlands requires some foamy water around the holes and channels. On the other hand, large swells and strong winds make fishing from the headlands too dangerous. It’s not worth risking your life to chase a few fish, there are plenty of safer options around Coffs Harbour.
  • Don’t cast too far. Jewfish tend to be feeding in the wash around small holes, channels and bommies and many anglers make the mistake of casting over them. It’s not unusual for a lure to be taken at your feet. Often they’re on holes just a few metres wide and a metre or so deep.
  • Lure fishing for jewfish from the rocks isn’t influenced by tides as much as it is in estuaries, beaches and other areas. They can be caught on all phases of the tide although Shea prefers bigger tides when he can get them.
  • Early morning and late afternoon fish best, with jewfish of all sizes coming on the chew at these times. Less fish are taken through the middle of the day, although those that are caught tend to be better quality – 6-7kg or more.
  • Cleated rock boots are must-have footwear. Study the swells, never turn your back on the sea and be super careful not to walk on wet rocks.
  • During a bigger wind, fish the lee side of the headlands as baitfish often congregate there and the jewfish won’t be far behind.

Shea’s Jewfish Tackle

  • Shea’s main headlands jewfish outfit consists of a Daiwa Lateo 11 foot (7-15kg line class) paired with an 8000 size Shimano Saragosa reel and 35lb Schneider line. This is his preferred gear for throwing plastics and any time the structure is not to harsh.
  • His second outfit is a 10-15kg line class Penn Prevail Rod (10 foot) with a 10000 size Shimano Saragosa reel and 40-50lb Scneider line. This outfit is Shea’s choice when he’s fishing smaller holes and channels or tougher structure where the fish need to be brought under control quickly.

Shea’s Best Lures For Jewfish Off The Rocks

  • Ricks Fish On Plastics 5″ Paddle Tail on a 1/2oz 7/0 or 8/0 TT Lures jig heads with extra heavy hooks. These are thrown to the edges of holes and close to bommies and allowed to sink close to the bottom. They’re worked around 1ft from the bottom with slow lifts – the slower you can work them, the better These can be fished right through the day.
  • A Croaker Lures Jewie Jewel works well, especially in the colder months. These are slow rolled about 1 foot beneath the surface. For best results, fish these lures during the early morning or late afternoon and work them as slowly as possible without any additional rod tip action.
  • A Surecatch knight or any similar tailor lure will work well on jewfish when skipped across the surface if there are lots of small baitfish about. Cast them across relatively shallow, foamy water where there are baitfish and work them briskly. Tailor are a welcome by catch when fishing these lures.

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Shea’s Sponsor

Ricks Fish On Plastics is an Australian lure maker who has been collaborating with Shea on colours and styles of lures for headlands jewfish.