Jack O’Clock
  |  First Published: November 2010

Summer has arrived and with it the warmer weather and water.

The Tweed really starts to fire up around November with most of the summer species starting to make an appearance.

Mangrove jacks, trevally, whiting, flathead and bass are all back on the target list. But November is the month to really start to get serious about chasing jacks.

Live mullet and whiting are probably the two best live baits for jacks; as herring get eaten off quite quickly by just about everything else that swims in the river.

We often head out in the afternoon and spin up a few whiting on poppers first before heading off to one of our favourite jack spots.

While live baits do tend to entice a few bites, actually stopping the jacks from getting back to their hidey-holes is quite difficult.

When using larger live baits you often need to wait for the jack to take a few bites before you strike, which gives the fish a few seconds head start on its way back to the snags.

Casting hardbodied minnows and retrieving them with a constant wind might get you less bites but it will land you more fish.

It is just a case of choosing the lure with the right diving depth for the structure you intend to fish.

When used correctly the fish should take the lure while your line is already tight, which allows you to immediately turn the fish’s head.

Jacks almost always hit your lure moving away and head straight back to their cover; this means a constant steady retrieve usually to stop a lot more fish.

The herring generally start to take a hammering through the warmer months with schools of big eye trevally and GTs roaming the lower reaches of the river.

Most of this action occurs during periods of low light or limited boating activity but if you are in the close proximity when a school of trevally get stuck into the herring, then the action can be pretty good.

Small slugs, poppers or soft plastics worked through the action are usually hammered.

The gaps between the walls at the Jack Evans boat harbour are probably the two best places to target trevally on a run-out tide.

By-catch in this spot can also be quite impressive with plenty of unstoppables hooked.

Flathead should start to spread out across the system again with all the likely looking weed beds producing fish.

As the water warms though you will start to find the bigger fish staying in the deeper sections of river and only venturing up into the shallows to feed at night or in periods of low light.

The upper reaches of the Tweed will start to offer some great top water action on the bass with small poppers and surface walking stickbaits accounting for good numbers of these great fish.

The Clarrie Hall Dam will also start to fish well in the early hours and on the odd occasion while you are on the water you can constantly hear the bass boofing stuff off the surface.


We may see a few early black marlin around this year with the warm water not really leaving the Tweed Region this year.

On the last few charters we have had 23ºC water on the 36 fathom line and the inshore regions have been inundated with large schools of pilchards.

With such a lot of bait already here one can only hope the pelagics shouldn’t be far behind.

We had an awesome mackerel and wahoo season last year.

Let’s hope that we see a few more of these top quality table fish this summer. November could well be a month to dust off the trolling gear and get out there for a few early season toothys. Good fishing to you all.

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