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When to strike a Jewfish?

the one that got away

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Ive been trying to catch a jewie for 2 years now, and still havent caught one! Ive had what i think was one which i hooked up to about 6 months ago, but i didnt strike it, i just sat the rod down and left the drag loose, walked off and i wasnt keeping my eye on it, then came back about 45mins later to my drag going of and picked the rod up and tightened the drag up and i was on, fought it for abit then busted me of on a pylon about 10 metres in front of me. And i havent had anything yet really.

But now its school holidays, soo im going to try and get out as many days as i can and try and catch on, and i was just thinking if i do get that run, when do i strike?

Straight away?

Wait a couple of seconds?

Wait for the second run?

Or i even heard of people just leaving the reel on fighting drag and let the Jewie look them selfs?

ohh at im landbased too?

Cheers, Zac

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A quote from Jewgaffer on this from another post

Hi Andrew as you know from the jewfish sessions we've had together I am very fussy about not touching a jew rod at all until I know the fish is well and truly hooked. I graduated a long time ago into using near locked up drag on small and medium size baits as jew will virtually play tug of war while pulling the bait free just as they do whilst dragging octopus free from the structure they are clinging to. Also your live bait sprends all of its exposure time stuggling against the rod, the line bloom and the current etc and hence a struggling livie will always draw attention to itself and look easy pickings for any predator to put out of its misery or if only to clean up their environment lol. The only time I ever use loose drag or a baitrunner reel is when I use larger live bait. In which case the golden rule when you detect the line movement is to let out more line, wait for the run to pause while the jew who attacks and crushes the backbone from below and then turns the bait around for the head take For example the use of two hooks will pull the leader line and the bottom hook's shank and the leader between the two hooks down onto the body of the bait and right out of the way so as not to impede the head take. In this case wait 10 seconds for the jew to swim off (as normal) after swallowing the bait and then strike. Graduating up to 80lb braid and 60lb leader gives you heeps of leverage, confidence and control

Best regards


I suggest doing a search for posts by Jewgaffer, his posts contain some great info on what your asking for, just browse through his posts.

Here's a link to some good reading CLICK HERE

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Hi there,

In my opinion, the best way to hook up when fishing for jew is to have your rods set in a solid holder and have your reels set at fighting drag. This is really conventional wisdom and my experiences have proved it to be successful 9 times out of 10 when a jewie hits a bait in a typical smash and grab type way. The hooks are set when the bait is hit and the fish moves off against the force of the line. Jewies being the curious creatures they are do fool about with the bait on other occasions though. Sometimes timidly, sometimes with semi-force. The report that Byron has been quoted from describes this and might be worth a read (currently in the fishing reports posted by myself).

Consider Byron an authority on this subject though he does target big fish with heavy gear. I wouldn't tighten your drag too tight if you are fishing 30lb line in an area known to produce big fish just in case you get smashed up.

I would not fish light drag as the hooks won't set and you might even get an over-run of line/tangle if the fish really takes off as happened to me when I first started fishing for jew. You might have been lucky to have your rod there or any line on your reel after 45 minutes.

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gday mate I totally agree with humesy, leave the drag set to fight the fish and when they go hit em hard! If you get a fish that is playing a bit with the bait as this sometimes happens in still or slow moving water simply pick up the rod from the rod holder and lower the tip towards the water at full arms stretch as you feel the fish swim off slowly (always keeping a small amount of wieght on the fish)and when you have lowered the tip totally down if there is still wieght there - hit it hard!

You will find that in fast running water like the hawkesbury they usually hook themselves, they only ever seem to bite softly when the tide is on the turn and almost still.

hope this helps.


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I am not going to claim to be anything near an expert but I have caught a few of them.

I usually have an eachway bet. I have a baitrunner that allows the fish to run and a Penn that I leave bail closed with the drag done up.

Every second person I have ever spoken to says let the Jew get the bait down before striking and the others say belt it as soon as the bait is in it's gob.

Between my two rods I couldn't tell you which one works better.

The same argument comes up with should you fish the dark, the week before the full moon etc they all seem to work and fail to the same level for me.

Obviously this post is a crap answer but its all I have.


Edited by davemmm
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if a fish is running with your bait. . .and hooks, where is the bait? not in its hands.

if you had a massive mouth but no other way of holding food. . and you pinched a tim tam with a hook in it, would you want the hook in free spool or ready to hook you?

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made me laugh steve .i think it really depends on the habitat that your quarry maybe lurker in,

whether it be in slack water up a river somewhere or off the oceanrocks in very fishywater :biggrin2:

maybe at the mouth of a river off a breakwall with the tide raging or on a beach these are just some of variables

that must be taken into account if you are to hold a large silver trophy up .

most of the ones ive caught have hit like freightrains

there hitting baits at speed because of the water . im just waiting for anzac day & the mullet run :thumbup:

its the start of my fishing calendar

Happy Hunting

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