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Big brawny jacks are back to smack
  |  First Published: November 2017



It’s my favourite month of the year, big jack month. This excites me, because in our area, big mangrove jack fire up as the water temperature rises with longer days. The mangrove jack isn’t actually classed as an estuarine species, as it only spends its first few years of life in estuaries before moving offshore to mature and breed.

In some areas, mangrove jack will spend longer inshore and that’s why you’ll get some big fish in creeks and rivers, but for the most part, once they reach around the 50cm mark they’ll head out to sea. It’s these fish in our area that fire up early in the season, usually beating the smaller fish to your lure or bait. I mentioned last year how popular the mangrove jack had become and this trend only seems to be getting stronger.

There’s something special about mangrove jack with their smash and grab tactics when they hunt – you have to be on the ball when fishing for them. This past year, I’ve spent time kayak fishing for them and have had my rear end handed to me on a number of occasions.

I choose to fish from my Hobie a fair bit. With the growing popularity of jack fishing, I find fishing less pressured water brings a bit more success. It also adds more of a challenge. Being at water level changes the way you cast, retrieve a lure and fight fish. Finding places to slip a kayak in to fish for jacks isn’t as hard now with Google Earth opening up opportunities for those that are a bit keen for adventures.

The mangrove jack life cycle has them pushing their way up creeks and rivers as far as they can go while they’re very small, as there are less predators and they grow very fast in fresh water. Those keen anglers that have caught mangrove jack in their boat stay in the Elliott River. You can guarantee they’re up in the upper reaches that you can get a boat into.

This is true for nearly every system in our region – I’ve fished a lot and caught mangrove jack in most of them. The only prerequisite is to make sure there’s no weir or dam that stops the fish migration up stream on your creek or river. Get out there and enjoy your month. Put in some time on the mangrove jack and hopefully you’ll meet with some hardcore fishing.

1

Fishing in the ‘yak can get you into great jack areas, free from a lot of the angling pressure.

2

Jacks are hard-fighters, but a lot of fun!

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