As a mad keen lure fisher, November is my favourite time of the year. Now that the water has become warmer, jacks and other lure-munching species will be well and truly on the job.
If you’re interested in lure fishing for jacks but have never done it before, the first thing you’ll need is a decent rod and reel combo. I fish with an Angler Stealth Dex 784 4-6kg baitcaster coupled with a Daiwa Alphas 103. I use 30lb Daiwa braid and 1m of 30lb or 40lb Berkley Vanish as a leader. This outfit is designed for effortless casting, which is perfect for a day of chasing jacks, as you’ll need to make many casts.
In addition to this, the easier your rod is to cast, the more accurate you will be, and this should in turn lead to more fish. My tip is to spend some time practising casting in your backyard. Use a lure without hooks on it, place a bucket at one end of the yard and try to cast the lure into it.
After working on your accuracy, the next step is to get those lures in the strike zone. The biggest, meanest fish live in the deepest, darkest parts of snags and rocks, so that’s where you’ll need to place your lure. Fallen trees and broken mangrove root balls are prime jack territory.
Once you have put your lure in front of the fish, don’t be in a great hurry to wind it back to the boat. A great cast is of little use if the lure lands in the strike zone then disappears at warp speed before the fish can make up its mind to eat it. Once in the zone, use your rod to impart a sick, wounded action on the lure: this is more likely to entice the jacks to strike than a straight retrieve.
There is an endless array of lures on the market today and they will all catch fish on their day. I prefer to use Aussie-made lures as I have found that their day seems to come around more often than cheap plastic imports. I have written about Tilsan Barra lures on many occasions and this is because they work. Simply cast the lure in close to cover and then with a quick wind of the reel handle, it will dive into the strike zone. Moving the rod tip erratically and slowly winding will make the Tilsan dance and flash enticingly in the snag. These lures are very easy to wind through snags if you do it slowly, as the bib throws the lure over the snags.
The Baffle is the place to head to if you want to get into some jacks, and in past years November has been my best month for bigger fish. The upper reaches amongst the many rock bars will be the go. Take plenty of big bibbed lures and Prawnstars, 4-5” plastics, and a few poppers for a late afternoon surface fish. The rock bars at the ferry crossing will be home to some monsters over the next month, so if you want to test your tackle, grab some deep diving Halco Scorpions and troll the deep ledge downstream from the ramp.Reads: 850