Rock fishing from coastal ledges gives us a great opportunity to target some solid fish. One of the most popular species along the east coast is the mighty mulloway, and rock fi shing
is one of the most consistent ways to hook these prized catches. As there are too many different ways to fi sh off the rocks to cover in a column, we’re going to focus specifically on trying to wrestle jewies out of shallow water.
Jewfi sh will happily hunt in shallow water, in daylight hours, if they’ve got appropriate cover. Areas with a foamy whitewash, plenty of stirred up sand in the surf, and a few rocky caves to launch an ambush from will generally hold some good jewfish. You don’t need to target big pockets of water to find the fish either. Sometimes a hole a metre or two wide is more than enough; however, trying to stop a first run in such close quarters is not an easy task!
For shallow water encounters with jewies, you can’t muck around with anything other than serious tackle.
Overhead, spin and sidecast reels loaded with 50lb mono, fished from a stiff rod with plenty of grunt in the lower half of the blank, are the only way to go. Use strong terminal tackle and make sure all your knots are spot on, because you’ll be putting immense pressure on any fish hooked, even the schoolies. There’s no room to let these fish run, as they’ll stitch you up in the rocks every time. Instead, the fights barely last more than a minute or two. You’ll either turn them and get the upper hand immediately after the strike, or be reaching for another hook to tie to your frayed line blowing in the wind!
Slabs of fi sh fl esh, well-presented squid strips or octopus tentacles are the prime baits for this fishing. Don’t bother with livies if the seas are up, as you’ll spend more time trying to stop them snagging on rocks than actually fi shing.
The trick is to cast a bait with as little added weight as possible into the pocket, and let it waft in the surf. The closer you drift it to a rock face the better, and if you can sink the bait under the rock and into a cave, lock your drag and hold on tight!
Sadly, anglers continue to lose their lives every year while fishing off ocean ledges. For information on how to fish the rocks safely, visit http://www.safewaters.nsw.gov.au/
Remember, no fi sh is ever worth risking your life for