Catching Land Based Brisbane River Jewfish Under the Lights on Plastics….

Conditions: Dead low tide low tide, well after midnight
Season: Winter
Strategy: Fish the lights in the wee hours of the morning
Technique: Vertical jigging plastics
Target: Threadfin Salmon
Gear Set Up: Baitcaster with 10lb braid and 20lb leader
Lure Types: 3”paddle tail plastic
Session Rating: 8/10

Land based Brisbane River Jewfish can be targeted in much the same way that Threadfin Salmon are. Like Threadfin; Jewfish will also chase bait under the lights of the city where the bait congregates. The main difference between the feeding habits of the species is that Jewfish tend to feed more actively on the slack tides (both top and bottom) whereas the Threadfin Salmon prefers the faster water of the flowing tides.

Fishing For Threadfin Salmon under the lights

Bitten with the Thready bug, I once again found myself on the Brisbane River in the wee hours of the morning looking for Threadfin. I had already been to a couple of spots and it had just started to rain as I came up to a well-lit location on the river bank. It was dead low tide so I held little hope of connecting to anything but cast out anyway as the rain began to fall harder. Instead of pulling the lure out of the water after it bringing it in, I left it just below the surface. I then tea-bagged it along just under the water surface directly below where I was standing.

Fish hooked

I felt a tap and realised that something had just mouthed the lure. I didn’t strike and let the lure stay in the strike zone a little longer. The second hit came and it came hard.  The rod bent over and line started peeling off the baitcaster in a long powerful run. For a brief moment, I thought it strange that this Threadfin Salmon was taking me out into the dark depths of the river instead of around the nearest pylon as they would normally do.

I finally halted the first storming run after it broke the surface in a loud splash. Regaining strength though, it put it’s head back down and took off on another surge back out into the deep. I walked along the footpath to keep the line clear and slowly began gaining control of the fish.

Brisbane River Jewfish

Each wind of my reel brought him in closer but as my line drew into the light, the fish was still down deep.  With firm, steady pressure on the rod, the beautiful silvery side of a big Brisbane River Jewfish finally came up into view. I walked the fish to a spot where the water was only 70cm below the walkway. My fish grips were at home so landing this fish was going to be a real challenge.

I put my rod down, held the leader with my left hand and reached down with my right hand. Into the bright orange fanged mouth, I put a rag to stop my fingers getting cut-up as I secured my grip. I lifted the fish halfway up out of the water but the full weight of the fish was too much. A little wiggle and he dropped back into the water with my rod skidding across the deck toward the edge.

The Jewfish has landed

I grabbed the leader again and noted that the hook was barely in its top lip. I reached down for my second attempt. Using all my strength I lifted again, held him firm and hauled him up over the edge. I caught my breath as the rain continued to fall on me and my big Brisbane River Jewfish. It was a stonker fish and I was stoked to be taking him home with me.

Norman Forsythe has written a handy little article for targeting Brisbane River Jewfish where he covers off on a few of the basics to keep in mind when going out next time.

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