David Johnstone Fishing Profile

Dave Johnstone

St George Basin Fishing Personality

Dave has been fishing St Georges Basin for many years and is a well-known local flathead guru. In recent years jewfish have started to make a regular appearance  in the basin and Dave has been on a mission to figure them out.

Dave’s Top Tips For St George Basin Jewfish

  • Fishing for jewfish in St Georges Basin is an all year round affair, although the bigger fish tend to come in winter. There are more jewfish in the basin during the warmer months, but there’s also a lot more bait, making the jewies a little harder to tempt.
  • Jewfish in the basin tend to move to the edges to feed under cover of darness and move back into deeper water during the daylight hours.
  • Dave like to focus his efforts around the turn of the ride, although he’s caught plenty of jewfish on all phases of the tide. Ideal conditions are when a low tide coincides with dawn and there is a north-easterly wind blowing. Still, glassed out days don’t fish so well as you need the wind to get a decent drift happening.
  • Schools of jewfish tend to hang in one place for quite long periods without moving too far. If you fish the area consistently and mark the location of the schools you’ll start to see patterns.
  • Spend a fair bit of time motoring around looking for fish on the sounder. Jewfish give a strong signal return, so get to recognise them and mark them on your sounder. A good strategy is to mark up where the fish are then come back the next day and start fishing 200m upwind of where the fish are. That way to can get some casts in before they get spooked by boat traffic.
  • Wind changes are as important as tide changes, creating additional bite windows. It doesn’t really matter which direction the wind is coming from, as long as there is a breeze

Dave’s Tackle Recommendations For St Georges Basin Jewfish

  • Jewfish have a hard mouth, so often when they take a lure on bream gear it can be harder to set the hooks. Tackle for jewfish fishing needs to be robust enough to drive the hooks home. .
  • A 7’5″, 3-5 kg faster tapered spin rod gives long casting and plenty of grunt to set hooks. Dave couples this with a 2500 size spin reel, 10lb braid and a 14lb fluorocarbon leader.
  • On tough days try dropping down to 6lb braid with an 8lb leader to try and coax a bite.

Dave’s Best Jewfish Lures

  • 4″ Gobbler Paddle tail soft plastics are a good lure for this style of fishing. Dave likes UV colours and tends to fish them on heavier jig heads than most anglers, often starting with a 3/8 oz, 4/0-5/0 jig head. This lures is Dave’s choice from sunup till around 9am.
  • 105 -130mm Pro Lure in Albino or Mangrove Gold colours
  • A Samaki 85mm soft vibe is a great choice for catching jewfish and will catch plenty of other species too.
  • Dave fishes all of these lures in much the same way, casting ahead of a drifting boat and allowing the lures to get to the bottom, then working them back with either slowly lifts or short double hops. Occasionally if the fish are quiet he’ll be a bit more aggressive with the lifts or hops to try and stir some interest.

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Dave’s Sponsors

Millerods produce the quality Aussie made fishing rods that Dave uses in the basin

Compleat Angler South Nowra support Dave’s fishing efforts.

Tonic Eyewear supply some of the best angler friendly polarised fishing glasses on the market.

Sax Scents sell the scents that Dave like to use on his jewfish lures


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