SaltyGreek

The smell of Hawkesbury Jew

Recommended Posts

Hey this may seem a little unusual but a few months ago I was talking to my godfather and my dad about Hawkesbury river Jew and my godfather mentioned that a Hawkesbury fisho told him on some perfect nights ( can’t remember the exact conditions) you will be able to smell the jewies on the surface.  He also said that dropping a sinker on the floor of the boat or having bright lights on in the boat would shut them down completely. I’m so curious to see if this is true as it’s been on my mind all day. 

I know it might sound unusual but I just want to see if anyone’s experienced it or heard of it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

got a mate that reckons he can smell jew, dunno how accurate he is but he catches a lot more jew than I do

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi SaltyGreek  over the years, after catching a few Jew, as soon as one was lost while fighting it, that was the end of the session as no more action from them. Well not in close proximity to where we were at the time anyway. I'm talking about calm water spots.

In naturally dark spots where they are hunting, my own opinion is an "unnatural" light shining on the water will chase them off. Argument against this would straight away come from those who fish for them around lit structures such as bridges, where they hunt the 'fringes' of illuminated water, but these places are lit immediately on approach of darkness and the fish seem to become 'accustomed' to the surroundings.

Old hands at beach fishing will tell you that if anyone turned on the old 'hurricane' lamps on the beach, the 'dedicated' Jew fishers would pack up in disgust and move to another location, again the argument would be that plenty of beaches have lighting from urbanization, but again in my belief, the same principle as the 'lit bridges' would apply.

Years ago, when I was a junior member of the Amateur Fisherman's Association, one of the members was Doug Costain, who at the time was editor of the old "Fishing News" weekly fishing paper (he also worked at one of the city's biggest tackle shops "Fisherman's World" in Hay St) Doug specialised in catching large Jew from the beach and was really successful with both numbers and size of fish he weighed in. As a result, he did quite a lot of 'guest speaker' talks at our club and other fishing clubs around Sydney. 

As a mostly 'land based' fisher in those years, the attraction of both Jew and Kingfish (as the largest available species to us) had my mates and I listening intently to Doug's talks, the do's and don'ts. He also noted that 'added light' was to be avoided wherever possible, not saying it would end the session like the lost fish seems to, but generally not working in the fisherman's favour.

Another example is found with Trag, the "accepted" method for good catches was to tether the first one landed and lower it back down, then fish baits close to it (in the same manner as Kingfish by day)- this way, if a fish was lost, the school didn't "spook" as easily, which they often did otherwise and be gone.

Another old method used by commercial fishers was to lower a light down to within a few metres of the sea floor and fish the baits close to/in the lit area. From the guys that did this method, you had to be anchored up and have your light on before dark so as to not spook the fish.

As for the smell, another theory (when on the beach) was that at high tide, the fish would secrete an "odour" while sitting on the sandbanks where beach worms lived, almost like a natural burley for the worms. When worms appeared, the fish would then 'vacuum' the sand, taking in sand, worms and all. Anyone who's caught them from shallow turbulent water will attest to the species ability to be able to hunt/breathe in sand-filled rough water. I've also heard the info re them being detected by their odour, but can't say I've ever noticed even when catching them.

There is tons of great and varied info on Fishraider about Jew (Mulloway)

One other thing to 'note' about them is that most of their "favourite" foods are also quite smelly. Pike, Mullet, Yellowtail, Tailor, Luderick and Rock Cale all have pretty strong smells, as do squid (albeit "nicer" to our noses!) just food for thought

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ive fished for jew for many years in many different places  never smelled them before i caught one    on the subject of light  i agree  extra light like a torch or headlamp will spook fish in unlit areas definitely  ive had it happen to me  pulling bream one after the other on a breakwall then some clown shines their light down to see what your doing  then bingo no more bights     also dropping sinkers banging anchors or other nouse is a nono in shallow spots and will definitely spook timid fish

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was young and fishing the beach with an old chap one night he stopped talking mid sentence, waved his nose around a bit and said "smell that, they're here". Within a couple of minutes we both hooked up and managed to land a couple of average size fish. I've smelt it many times since just before hooking up and the best way to describe it is the smell of old cunji.

Also agree 100% on no lights anywhere near the water and believe that could be why many say jew bite best around the full moon. I reckon not because there's more fish but anglers tend to use torches a lot less.

The only time making a lot of noise in the shallows works is when bream fishing in around the oyster racks. When oyster farmers are in there bashing and crashing around its like ringing the dinner bell to the resident bream. So replicating their actions is pure sonic berley.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My father-in-law caught heaps of jew from beaches around Yamba and recond he could smell them trying to lure beach worms out of sand.  Never heard of this smell em story anywhere else but beaches with beach worms.  

As for lights, I fish from my boat with squid lights in the water and a big flood light on my deck and have caught as many as 7 jew (5 released) in a night, however I believe flashing a torch etc on the water will put them off.  In other words a constant light doesn't appear to affect them.  Ron

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@wazatherfisherman Quote:

“Another old method used by commercial fishers was to lower a light down to within a few metres of the sea floor and fish the baits close to/in the lit area. From the guys that did this method, you had to be anchored up and have your light onbefore dark so as to not spook the fish”

That must have been a challenge with those kerosene lamps! 😂

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Growing up in Coff's Harbour we would regularly meet an old lady whilst we were fishing the run in of the creek at night. She would sniff the air and say that there were jewies on the beach. She fished with a handline and beach worms and never missed catching some

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Green hornet       oyster farmers work during the day so i dont think that theory will work at night

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, rickmarlin62 said:

Green hornet       oyster farmers work during the day so i dont think that theory will work at night

Yeah mate, I didn't mean at night. Just referring more to a situation where making noise isn't necessarily always a bad thing.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Statistics

    • Total Topics
      65,219
    • Total Posts
      523,527