Things are hotting up
  |  First Published: November 2008

The end of September and last month saw numerous mangrove jack captures filtering through and although the southerly winds played havoc with the water temperatures, this month they should ease and it’s game on if you are a jack junkie like me.

Hardbody lures, plastics and live baits all work in the Tweed, it’s simply a case of choosing the correct structure to fish each technique.

The old tried and proven technique of trolling along the rock walls, bridges and submerged rock bars is probably still one of the most productive methods of landing big jacks, although the attrition rate on lures can be a bit tough.

The fish really needs to swim only a few feet in any direction to find some sort of structure to rub you off on. The key to stopping this is to use the boat’s main engine to pull the fish clear of the structure instead of stopping the boat and trying to do it with the rod.

This is unfortunately not the most sportsmanlike method of battling a fish that doesn’t often exceed 5kg but it can be very exciting and the suspense of trolling down the river with white knuckles on the tiller waiting for the hit is half the fun.

Casting hardbodies and plastics is gaining popularity and every year more anglers are using this technique.

The trick is to make sure that your lure swims fairly close to the bottom. Casting the lure as close to the structure to ensure that it stays in the strike zone is imperative.

Remember, jacks are ambush predators and don’t often chase down their prey. Rather, they wait for it to come to them and then dart out and grab it.

Upgrading the hooks and split rings on your minnows is often a good idea because jacks are very hard on terminal tackle.

Plastics work well around shoreline structure but really come into their own when fishing the deeper rock bars and bridges on the Tweed.

Once the action on the shoreline structure dies down, it doesn’t necessarily mean that its time to go home. There will still be red devils holding up in the deeper water that will be willing to take a lure.

Another lure that should fish very well in the deeper water for the jacks is the metal vibration blade that has dominated the bream fishing scene this year. We have been catching the odd jack on the little blades while targeting the bream through the cooler months so it will be interesting to see how the larger blades will go this summer.

Live-baiting is still hard to beat when chasing jacks. Mullet, herring, silver biddies and whiting are all top baits.

Anchoring the boat and fishing the livies back to the structure with just enough weight to get them down is a very exciting way to tangle with a red devil. If you find your livie getting snagged on the bottom, you can also try rigging it under a float allowing just enough of a dropper under to enable the bait to swim just above the bottom.

This is really bare-knuckle brawl fishing and one thing to remember is never to put your rod down or take your eye off it for a second, because that is always when the fish will strike.

All the usual Summer species will now be settled in the river and if we get a bit of settled weather they will start to spread throughout the system, but a big downpour could change this.


Black marlin are on the cards this month and a few early fish have already been making their presence felt.

Trolling pushers around the Nine Mile or Kirra Reef is a good way to get connected to one of these high flyers.

The later the summer gets, the better your chances become of hooking them and January is the best time. Keep an eye on the water temp when heading out and if you notice a sudden spike of a few degrees, don’t be shy to drop a few lures over the back and have a troll.

Mackerel at Palm Beach reef will an option, as well as the odd cobia, while the odd plastic-munching snapper is still being caught on the shallow reefs.

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