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The Snapper and The Jew

The Snapper and The Jew

Fishing in the Southern Bay and Northern Gold Coast is a favourite. While I’m mainly focused on catch-and-release sports fishing, I also regularly take home a fresh feed of fish for the family. My wife and three young boys not only enjoy eating fish, they also love to fish. I am sharing my experiences in catching snapper and jew in Southern Moreton Bay.


During the cooler months, the snapper are definitely on the increase with some nice size fish hauled in over the sides of boats. Sometime ago, I had a quick but productive flick. I sounded around the northern end of Maclaey Island and found a patch of snapper. I use an 8lb line with 12lb to 15lb leader. To this, I select a jig head weight to suit the depths and currents. On that particular day, we were in six metres of water and I was using a .oz jig head. At the second cast, I was onto a solid fish. I was busy setting up the Go-Pro with the rod in the holder when line started screaming off the reel. Lucky, my mate Beau was on board to film it, as I hadn’t quite finished setting up the Go-Pro. I had a Gobblers 3.75-inch jerk shad in the colour southern sky on my line. This colour works well in overcast conditions. I find the jerk shad tends to attract the bigger fish – but in saying that, I do catch a lot of quality fish on the curl tails as well. The next drift, I hooked another solid fish that was “taken by the taxman”, aka bull shark, right beside the boat, so we left the area. I also troll hardbodies for snapper and the ones that work for me is the Zerek Ripper Divers in 5 metre, colour 10. For the bait fisho, you can’t go past fresh prawns. Diver whiting is definitely also a “go-to” bait for snapper.

Tip: When sounding around in the shallow water, avoid driving over the fish too much, or at all, if you can help it, as this can spook the fish. Once you find a school, spot lock with your electric motor or drift.


There are some nice pockets of jewfish around the Southern Bay. I have found them on ledges, wrecks, holes and on the rubbly bottoms. These fish fight hard on light tackle. They don’t get their name “silver ghost” for nothing, as these fish can be very elusive at times. I have come across good schools of jew, but on occasions they have lockjaw. I guess “that’s fishing”! But when you can get them to play the game, it is awesome!

I went out fishing with mates, Adam and Lauren, on the maiden voyage of their new Angler Pro boat, which is fitted with all the bells and whistles. I had been out a week earlier at a spot with a wreck on my own when I found a small school of jew, so I was hopeful the fish were still there. We arrived at the same spot to find a large bait ball with some large marks around it. We deployed the electric motor and hit spot lock. I looked at the water colour and thought Gobblers Diablo in the 3in curl tail is the go. I dropped down and got bumped straight away, but it had pulled the curl tail half off. As I announced that I had just had a hit on this lure, everyone changed to the same lure. Adam’s plastic had barely hit the bottom when the line started screaming off his reel. This wasn’t stopping in a hurry, so we pursued it with the electric motor. We chased this fish for 10 to 15 minutes, once again using an 8lb line. A slob of a jew came up beside the boat to some excitement from Lauren, who was filming. I asked, “Where is the net?” and I was handed a net that would have struggled to fit a whiting let alone a jew! It obviously wouldn’t do, so I grabbed my lip grips and led the fish around. This fish was 105cm long and was an epic capture on light line.

If you want to try and catch jew on bait, livies are the go. I usually catch pike for live bait, but once, all I got was a slimy grinner, so I decided to give that a go. From using this slimy grinner for bait, I ended up pulling in my personal best jew of 137cm on 20lb mono, on a bait runner reel. These reels allow you to let the fish run, which I find is a must. What I have noticed is that after it runs for a while, the rod has a few distinct bumps. This, I believe, is the jew swallowing the bait. Then it’s time to set the hooks. The rig I use is a snell rig with Gamakatsu hooks with a size 4/0 hook at the front and an 8/0 hook at the back on 30-40lb leader line.

Tip: Fish as light as possible, as you will get far more hits plus the bonus of having a lot of fun angling the fish.

By Matty Savas

Matty is happy to answer your questions by contacting him on his Facebook page or checking out his website, a valuable local fishing resource.


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