Mark Williams Fishing Bio

Mark Williams

Fishing Journalist And Flathead Enthusiast

Mark has been fishing the Lake Macquarie area for his entire life and grew up fishing for flathead. He’s been a writer for Fishing World Magazine for 24 years and has been the technical editor with Fishing World for the past 20 years. Mark currently coordinates the trophy flathead tagging program on Lake Macquarie.

Mark’s Top Jewfish Fishing Tips

  • Fishing for jewfish in the cooler months is all about deeper water, mostly from 8-10m depth.
  • Mark likes the turn of the tide, especially where it coincides with an early morning. The low light periods tend to fish best and there is less boat traffic in the mornings.
  • Fish your lures slowly and (usually) close to the bottom. Jewfish will often come up off the bottom if they’re really feeding aggressively, but are often schooled up close to bottom and it’s important to get the lure right in their faces.
  • Be patient when playing a jewfish. They are strong and fast but don’t usually dive for cover, and there isn’t a lot of structure in Lake Macquarie in any case. Take your time and you’ll lose less fish.
  • Finding Lake Macquarie jewfish in winter is all about finding the bait schools. Side scanning sonar will reveal schools that are being hunted by pelagics as you’ll observe holes and gaps in the school where the predators are working.
  • Look for working birds and signs of tailor feeding near the surface, jewfish will usually be beneath the tailor schools.

Lake Macquarie Jewfish Fishing Tackle

  • There’s no need to go too heavy on Lake Macquarie jewfish. A 7’ 3-5kg or 4-6kg spin rod with a 2500 size reel, 20lb braid and at least 1.5m of a good quality 20lb fluorocarbon leader is a good outfit for most anglers. Experienced anglers can go lighter, if they wish.
  • Jewfish will test tackle, so make sure that your reels are good quality and are well maintained. A silky smooth drag system is essential.

Marks Preferred Jewfish Fishing Lures

  • Mark likes the Samaki Vibelious Thumper Tail for jew that have aggregated beneath schooling tailor. He prefers the 95mm version, but others targeting jew prefer the 125mm size. Work this lure close to the bottom (less so if the fish are up higher) with large, slow lifts, being sure to let the lure sink between lifts and keeping in touch with a semi-taut line. Quality soft vibes like the Samaki will flutter and vibrate on the drop, which is when most fish hit them. Cheap vibes will spin unnaturally and take a lot less fish.
  • Large Paddle Tailed soft plastics are effective on jewfish but are also susceptible to being quickly chopped to pieces by tailor before they get down to the jew. Mark recommends using 10x plastic lures that are tougher and longer lasting. He likes the Samaki Bomb Shad or the Z-Man MinnowZ on a ⅜ to ½ oz jig head, but the new Samaki Mega Bomb Shad 7” lures are proving to very effective too. Use a quality jig head so you don’t straighten hooks and simply let the lure get to the bottom and then slow roll it back close to the bottom. Lareg 
  • Hard body lures are surprisingly effective on Lake Macquarie jewfish and Mark particularly likes the Samaki Redic Jerkbaits, which are silent, suspending lures that have a range of diving depths that cover all of Lake Macquarie. These lures are perfect for trolling whilst you’re looking for schools of jewfish, or can be worked near feeding tailor (be careful not to go through the school, work around the edges).

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Mark’s Sponsors

Mark is not a sponsored angler, but would like to acknowledge some local businesses that have always been very supportive of Mark and his fishing efforts.

Samaki is a NSW Central coast business that produces a line of premium tackle, including most of the lures that Mark favours for jewfish.

Hunter Marine is another central coast business and Mark reckons they are brilliant Hobie watercraft distributors with above and beyond customer service.

Mark Saxon from Castaway Estuary Charters produces the Crab and Gold Prawn flavoured scents that Mark applies to all of the lures he fishes in Lake Macquarie.


  1. Kevin Croft

    Hi Mark, love the segment it was very informative. I was after any tips on sounder setting for side scanning bait and predator fish.

    • Mark Williams

      G’day Kevin, I’m a Lowrance fishfinder user so my sidescan experience relates to their HDS units, but I generally like to run my sidescan at a ratio of around 3 or 4 to 1 meaning that in 10 metres of water I’ll be looking around 30 to 40 metres each side of the boat or yak. Palette selection is a personal choice but I like either the blue or yellow palettes for showing fine detail. 455khz and 800khz both have their advantages & disadvantages depending on what your doing 800khz gives you more detail I find but doesnt have to range of 455khz. Best thing to do is get out on the water and have a play with your settings hey. Good luck and hope you can get your sidescan running better mate. Cheers Mark

  2. Steve Hill

    Excellent episode and it has given me some great tips to focus on for targetting jewfish in Lake Mac. Thanks Mark! I was out today and while I didn’t get a jewfish, I did pick up a 88cm flathead, as far as bycatch goes, thats about as good as it gets!

    • Mark Williams

      Hey Steve, congrats that’s a sensational flatty mate and to be honest a 88cm flatty is a much less common catch in the lake than a jewie. The average size of Trophy flathead tagged in the lake is 74cm so that big breeder is way above average. Well done mate and remember that DPI recommend the release of all dusky flathead over 70cm in the lake. Cheers

      • steve hill

        Thanks Mark, that’s an interesting stat and I thought the average size of Trophy Flathead in the Lake may have been bigger. She went back after a quick photo and swam away happily. I’m a “catch and release, occasionally keep a couple to eat fisherman” and generally would only keep flatty’s between 40cm and 50cm. cheers

  3. Phil Murray

    Gday Mark, thanks for the info. Wondering if you could suggest someone for a charter up that way if I wanted to target jew with soft plastics.


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