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Hard yards for tough fight
  |  First Published: December 2013



There have been very few fishing opportunities over the last month, if it hasn't been blowing from the north then it’s blowing from the south. When you then throw in a busy month with work it doesn't leave much time for wetting a line. In saying that, I have managed to fit in a few short trips or headed up the creeks and canals to get out of the wind just to have a fish.

With the hot weather that we have experienced over the last month along with the lack of rain, the canals and creeks are really firing. Most would say that rain helps in the canals/creeks because it discolours the water and flushes the bait out. Most of the time I would tend to agree, but in the last month the consistent wind has made the water slightly discoloured and there are still plenty of bait getting around these areas.

One of the prized captures on most lure-angler’s fish list is the mangrove jack. Along with the snapper, this is one of my favourite fish to target. The strike is arm jolting and the last ditch effort from the fish to get back to the structure is a real tug of war, with the brute force and power that a mangrove jack displays during a fight.

We are lucky around the Redlands to have quite a few creeks, all of which hold some quality jacks. It’s just about putting in the time searching for different structure that fish will hold on. You want to be looking for things like trees that have fallen into the water, deep or shallow rock bars and rock walls. When the current hits any structure it creates eddies, and the still water behind the tree or rocks is where the predator will sit and wait for its prey to get washed past or stuck in the eddy. These are prime areas to start looking for a jack.

When targeting these brutes everything from start to finish needs to be right. It begins with your tackle, there is nothing worse then putting in all the hard yards, hook a fish and a knot gives way or the leader snaps due to an abrasion. You need to go over your tackle and make sure it is all in good working order.

The next thing to get right is to position your boat on the right angle to get away quickly if you hook up; get your electric motor pointing in the direction that you want to pull that fish out of the snag. You want to use everything that you have to your advantage.

What lures I throw depends on what structure I am fishing and in what depth. When it comes to creeks snag bashing and deep rock bars I will have a Z-Man 4” Swimmerz or Diezel minnows rigged on a TT Snakehead jighead. These are a weedless jighead so it allows you to get in deep in that snag without the worry of getting snagged up. The Z-Man Shrimpz work well in this situation as well.

If I am fishing rock walls I like to use hardbodies for two reason: because you can cast right to the water’s edge, and you can work that lure from the top to the bottom due to the wall’s angle. This is where knowing what depth your lure dives to is helpful; you want the lure bumping the rocks, not just working the top little bit of the wall.

You can also use surface lures in this situation. I like to get nice and tight casts parallel to the wall so I can work the whole length of the wall and not just where you cast. My lure of choice for this application is the Lucky Craft G-splash 80.

When the wind is up and you are sitting at home needing a fish, chasing bream up in the creeks and canals is something that you can do for a few hours. There have been some quality fish of late with a few bream up around the 40cm mark. I don't care what anyone says, when you hook a bream of that size around boats and pylons it is great fun and a challenge to get them out.

When fishing these areas I love throwing the New Z-Man 2” Grubz rigged on a 1/20oz TT HWS jighead. This technique is deadly on bream but you will also encounter other species such as estuary cod, mangrove jack, tarpon, trevally and Moses perch. You want to get as close to the structure as possible and let that plastic waft down through the water column. If you are casting at rock walls then you want to gently hop it down the wall. Remember not to work that plastic too fast.

In the bay when the weather permits there have been some really good reports of some nice mulloway being caught around Peel Island along with some decent juvenile snapper.

For mulloway, target the deeper structure with plastics around the 5” mark. The turn of the tide is the ideal time to be fishing for them, if the tide change coincides with dawn or dusk then that’s even better. The retrieve is just a slow hop, they don't like an erratic moving plastic.

Well I hope the weather becomes a little more consistent and it allows us all to get out amongst the fish and enjoy what is on our doorstep. Until next month I hope your lines are tight.

1

When targeting bream in canals it requires you to be quite stealthy to get the bite. This one was enticed by a 2” Z-Man Grubz in bloodworm smeared with a bit of Pro Cure scent in bloody tuna flavour.

2

This 53cm jack was a result of getting the plastic in nice and tight to the structure. Doing that will increase the strikes you get.

3

When you have everything right it puts the odds of landing these brutes in your favour. This was taken on the Z-Man 5” Scented Paddlerz in pearl rigged on a TT 1/2oz Headlockz jighead.

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