Updated: Aug 15
Fishing with live bait gives you a better opportunity to catch your trophy fish. Mulloway are one of those species that every angler looks to land. There are some simple techniques you can try to land your PB Mulloway on your local reefs.
Fishing for Mulloway (also known as Jewfish or Silver Jew) from a ski is quite easy when they're biting. Try these simple tips to get your own!
Tip #1 - Look for a big patch of bait on a reef lump
Mulloway are more likely to be hanging out around structure. If you find a reef or rock structure on your sounder and it has a lot of bait around it, there is is a good chance they'll be close by. Depending on the depth, you may be able to pick them out on your sounder.
Tip #2 - Get some live bait
Mulloway will take Yakkas, Slimies, and they absolutely love Tailor! Check your local guides for minimum legal Tailor size you can use.
If you don't get a Mulloway when fishing with Livies, you might get a Cobia, or even a Longtail Tuna on the same rigs- I have!
Tip #3 - Use this simple rig
I have had most luck on a simple single-hook Paternoster rig when fishing in deeper water. I use a 4-6 oz lead on the bottom, rig a 7/0 circle hook at around 1.5 m up from the sinker, and then have around another 500mm to a swivel. 50lb line would be a good strength to go with.
I rig the hook a little further off the bottom to avoid the smaller pickers. It seems to work..
Tip #4 - Rigging the live Bait
You can hook the bait up under the bottom lip, through the soft membrane in front of the eyes for a slimy or yakka, or what I have found very successful is a bridle rig. I push a standard 3cm diameter rubberband through the fish's lip or in front of the eyes using a bait needle. Attach the rubber band to the hook with a simple slip knot. Push the rubber band through using the bait needle. Then twist the hook 2-3 times in one direction, thread the hook back under the rubber band at the fish's mouth/head, and then twist 2-3 times in the other direction, and thread the hook again under the rubber band.
In any of the techniques, make sure the hook is completely exposed. You want a solid hookup. Mulloway will practically inhale the bait, and like a lot of demersal species, eat head first, so that is why the single hook through the mouth/head of the bait works so well.
In shallower water you might also try hooking the live bait just under the dorsel fin.
Tip #5 - Drop the bait up current to the target zone
If you are fishing in any depth like I do, generally around 50-70 metres, I often have to get up-current to ensure that the bait gets to the bottom at the target zone. I also use the jetski's engine to keep me over the line at all times to keep the lines as vertical as possible.
If you turn off the engine and drift, the line may be at a severe angle to the ski, and Mulloway may pick up the bait but feel the tension. The slack or bow in the line gives them enough time to spit the bait if they notice something is wrong, well before the circle hook can do its job. Mulloway are notorious for mouthing baits and then dropping them! I'm not saying you won't catch them if drifting, but I have had far more success with the vertical lines and being in touch with the bait at all times.
So, keep the line vertical using the ski's engine, and when you find the bottom, take up the slack - and hang on! It might take only 30 seconds to hook up!
The circle hook should do it's job when a Mulloway takes the bait, and you do not really need to strike. If I have a fish on I may give a medium strike to ensure the hook is definitely embedded, but generally the circle hook will have done its job simply as the fish swims off.
So that's all you need to know how to catch Mulloway on Live Bait. You can catch a trophy fish very quickly!
For a great example of how to catch Mulloway on live bait, please check out this video: