Sometimes known as a Jewish or Jewie, I too have had the pleasure of catching and feasting on a Mulloway. This is the fish that is sold as Butterfish in Fish 'n Chip shops. The best catches are made in the hottest months of the year from beaches on the Eyre Peninsula, where as cold wintery nights can be productive in and around the Port river, and the Murray Mouth. Most large catches are made at dusk and three hours after dark, with preferably no moon. When hooked, the larger species can provide extremely hard runs, so heavy tackle and line of about 15kg with a 25 kg trace is preferable.
They are essentially an inshore fish that likes nothing better than a pounding surf and quiet estuaries when hunting for food. They can be touchy at times, and using live bait of garfish is a bonus. The can be caught during the day, but they are essentially night feeders. When using fillets of fish for bait, be sure that there is a long tail hanging from the ganged hooks. When a hookup occurs, Mulloway tend swim with the bait for a short period, so leave plenty of loose line during a potential hookup. Then when it runs, strike hard as they have a very hard and bony mouth. A large Mulloway can easily strip of 100 metres off your line during the first run. Like snapper, they will often play "possum" and come in easily before a second run. After the second run, start to tighten your drag on the reel as you can afford to give more resistance after having tested the Mulloway's stamina twice.
As mentioned before, the Murray Mouth can be extremely productive for the smaller variety of Mulloway. Small, younger Mulloway tend to have a tenderer meat. The Murray is also an ideal place to lure, casting as far as possible into the tide and surf, then reeling it back in at a walking pace. Don't be afraid for the lure to hit and drag on the bottom, as this imitates a fleeing small bait fish. Beaches and gutters around Fowlers Bay on the Eyre peninsula have been known to produce monster Mulloway of the order of 30 kg and more. Fowlers Bay in February is perfect, but extremely hot, sometimes in the order of 40+° (from personal experience). They also tend to dwell in rock headlands, sea walls and deep estuary holes, and the larger variety often get moving at night, after a heavy runoff from rain.
As with salmon, when caught, Mulloway should also be bled, and gills removed. Just simply remove the gills, snap its spine at the head and invert it, head down into the sand.The gills hold the most amount of blood from the fish.
Legal Minimum Length
- Taken from Coorong, minimum Mulloway length is 46cm.
- Taken from elsewhere, minimum Mulloway length is 75 cm.
- Bag Limit of 10 Mulloway from 46cm to 75 cm taken from the Coorong.
- Bag Limit of 2 Mulloway over 75 cm taken from the Coorong.
- Bag Limit of 2, Boat Limit of 6 Mulloway over 75 cm taken from elsewhere.
Type of Tackle
A rod from 3.5 to 4.0 m is perfect. Line strength from 10 to 15 kg is recommended, with a 25 kg trace. A BaitRunner reel is ideal for Mulloway as they tend to fumble, play and run with the bait before a good chance to strike occurs.
When using whole or strip bait, triple ganged 4/0 chemically sharpened hooks, using a 25 kg monofilament line for snelling. Also, lures of 85 or 110 gms can be used as well.
They feed on squid, octopus, and a wide range of fish such as salmon, garfish, mullet, pilchards and whiting, as well as beach worms, cockles and mussels. Squid and Garfish are by far, the best bait.
A berley mix of the diced pilchards and pellets soaked in tuna oil works very well.
Rig No. 1
Mulloway bites can be very touchy, if they fumble the fish in their mouths prior to a final bite. A running rig is designed so that fish do not shy away from more static rigs such as Rig No. 2. Running rigs give you the sensitivity to fell these bites and fumbles. A 7kg trace with a 3/0 or 4/0 hook(s) will do for the small variety, but a 15kg line with 5/0 to 8/0 hook(s) is preferred for the larger kind. If using pilchards as bait, naturally a ganged rig is advised, where as only one or two hooks are needed for squid. With any bottom resting rig, crabs may attack your bait, so check it regularly, every 30 minutes.
Rig No. 2
This rig offers the added advantage of suspending the bait about a metre above the bottom, away from crabs. Should Mulloway be timid, this rig may not be ideal, as they will feel the line tension and release the bait.
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