Mulloway Or Jewfish - A Good Surprise You Can Receive When Fishing For Flathead or Bream

Mulloway (Jew fish)

Argyrosomus Hololepidotus

The Mulloway are known to many anglers via different names, they can be called such names as: Mulloway, Jewfish, Jew, Jewie, Butterfish, Buttery and in Western Australia they are quite commonly names Kingfish, River King, or Silver King. Smaller juvenile Mulloway are nicknamed Soapies where as larger species are called Schoolies. They belong to a family of Crockers, grunters and drum and a nearly identical fish can be found in South Africa or the United States.

The Mulloway can grow up to sizes of 1.8m or 45Kg in weight but anything over 25Kg is worth long time bragging rights. Soapies are usually 0.4-2.5kg in weight with schoolies anything thing above, It has been heard that a Jewfish has be caught weighing 60Kg although no records can be found.

They are a predatory fish with large mouth, a large long body, heavy scales and a spade like tail usually caught in the ocean, estuaries and tidal rivers. The mulloway can be recognized by its dark bronze or brassy green, blue green or even purple black with a silver belly, when alive or freshly caught bright spots can be noticed along their lateral line. The Jewfish can be distinguished by its kerosene-like smell when freshly caught.

Mulloway have been found to tolerate almost fresh water but have rarely be found that far upstream mainly caught in estuaries, harbours, bays, beaches, break walls, rock headlands and reefs with gravel or bed floors holes up to 40m in depths, (Jew hole).  Jewie’s are a very opportunistic fish that are usually nocturnal, although it is not uncommon for them to feed in daylight if the water is muddy (murky) or on an overcast day. They readily let the current and waves bring the food to them, feeding on such baits as small to medium live fish including mullet, salmon or luderick, they will also eat sand crabs, octopus and squid. Most commonly forming schools of all sizing where they will pack in close together lying motion less in a gutter or hole and wait for the bait to be washed by. Large Mulloway on the other hand can be found hunting alone along beach front or in tidal estuaries.

“Soapies” or smaller Jewfish are readily caught on small strips of bait of live bait when fishing for flathead or bream, When Targeting S “Schoolies”, larger Jewfish live bait such as mullet, yellowtail, slimy mackerel, pike, tailor or squid works well, dead whole bait such as luderick or pilchards also work well. When Feeding the Mulloway will quite often run with the bait before spitting in back out and it is wise to use big hooks and be ready to set them on one of these big runs. It has been heard that one of the best times to fish for Mulloway is after rain or a big storm in river mouths when the water has distinctly change of colour, White Lures or poppers can be used to catch those bigger fish in these times. Mulloway under 3Kg has been named Soapies due to their Soft and flavourless taste according to some fisherman where jewfish over 5 Kg far excellent table qualities but it is also heard that larger species can be infested with worms as well.

Important Tips – Mulloway being caught in deeper then 25m of water do not usually far well to being brought to the surface, and most readily will not survive not matter how quickly you return them. Keep this in mind when fishing and never over fish to make sure there will always be healthy fish for the next outing.


The Record for the largest Mulloway or jewfish in Australia according to all tackle records is 37Kg at Far West Coast in South Australia on the 21/11/2000

Books; Australian Fish Id Pocket Guide – Published 2017 – Author Australian Fishing Network

The Fisherman’s hand Book – Published 1988 – Author Steve Starling.

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