Jacks Jump to Life
  |  First Published: November 2011

We have just come out of one of the longest and coldest winters on record and I for one was seriously over it. Now comes my favourite month of the year - the month the big mangrove jack in our area come out to play.

The water temperatures are rising as the days get longer and our daylight fishing time gets stretched.

The Burnett River

After a great winter of fishing the Burnett keeps producing the goods. Threadfin salmon, barramundi, mangrove jack and fingermark are all marquee sports fish and are all out in number. The fish have been willing to take all sorts of lures and differing techniques.

The boys at Tackleworld Bundaberg have their finger on the pulse and are updating reports all the time on their Facebook page so look them up if you want up to date info.

I’ve had reports of schools of grunter moving around the river and when you come across them they are eating soft plastics and baits.

The guys in the know have been putting plenty of time in on the river fine tuning their side imaging sounders searching out holes and structure and are seeing plenty of big fish. The warmer water temps should see some of the bigger fish start to fire up and hopefully anglers resist the urge to target them. Disturbing the fish could interrupt the spawning process so be patient and wait until the closure finishes. The closure means we should get a great spawning season giving us a bright barra future.

The Kolan

For those of you who haven’t fished the Kolan River, this month make the effort. I have heard a few stories of wipe-outs from big jacks, which sounds very tempting. Trolling around the main rock bars with deep diving lures towards the bottom of the tide is a great way to mess with some big jacks. Halco Scorpions in the 3m gold and of course my favourite of many years the Tilsan Barra in pink herring are two very productive lures for this technique. If you prefer casting up a storm then grab a few Prawnstars and hang on.


If you want a great place stay with the family with excellent fishing opportunities, then Woodgate’s the place.

Theodolite creek heats up quickly and the jacks turn on, the only drawback is the best time to fish for the jacks is when there is very little water left in the system. Of course this then lends its self to the keen kayak angler because as the tide drops it’s the perfect time to slide the yak in.

There is some great rock in House Creek that fishes well on the last of the outgoing tide and further up the creek there is a couple more submerged rock bars that rarely see a lure at the right time of the tide.

The mighty baffle

Last year was a bit rough on the upper reaches of the Baffle as storm after storm dirtied up the river. So far we haven’t seen much fresh and the river looks great. Roger from Baffle Creek Caravan Park reports plenty of fish coming through the park with the better fish coming to those putting in the effort.

The big jacks the Baffle is famous for will terrorise the unsuspecting tourists this month and help keep the tackle shops in business. If we don’t have any substantial rain the upper reaches will be going off.

If you’re a fist timer look for points and nervous bait fish as the fish will be active and will hunt even in the open if the food is there. Surface fishing even during the middle of the day is a great way to search out these big fish and when you have found a few fish stay in the area and fish it thoroughly as they will hang in sections of the river.


I have purposely steered clear of reference to barra this month because of the closed season. The closed season on the east coast runs from Midday the November 1 to February 1. This also means no deliberate targeting of barra even for catch and release purposes. To say I am excited about this spawning period is an understatement. This year will see a record number of fish travel, school and spawn in our region giving their numbers a massive boost and setting our region up for ten years of great barra fishing. Even with the massive effort the net fishos put in over recent months there are still big numbers of fish ready to do their bit for their species. These are exciting times indeed.

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