Getting Jacked off
  |  First Published: February 2009

This summer has been dominated by some excellent jack captures with quite a few of them being up around the 50cm+ mark. Numerous tales of opened hooks, shredded leaders and fish lost at the boat or shoreline have, as usual, been out numbering the ones of the fish being landed. That is the norm with jack fishing and it is what keeps us coming back for more.

The thing with jacks is that once over 50cm they become really tough to land. And at 55cm they are a completely different fish again, and every centimetre after that they get noticeably stronger. It’s almost as if they have a scale of ‘meanness’. To give you an example of this I will relay a story of how I got done over in double quick time.

I was fishing land-based one evening with my heavy jack gear, which comprises of a Daiwa Black Sheep spooled with 50lb Castaway braid and a G Loomis 665 baitcasting rod. I was throwing a 14cm Rapala on this outfit hoping for a bigger fish. And I certainly got what I was hoping for.

Most jack bites come as a massive explosion of power that almost pulls the rod out of your hands. This one, however, took me by surprise because the lure simply stopped. I was fishing around big rocky outcrops at the time, bouncing the lure of the rocks and my first thought was that I was snagged, so I gave the rod a few jiggles to allow the lure to float free. This is when it all went pear-shaped. The rod was wrenched flat, I overbalanced and almost went in the drink at the same time trying to get a thumb on the spool. If you had a camera on me at the time you would have won the funniest home video competition hands down. I managed to get my footing but no matter how much pressure I put on the fish its head was facing the wrong way and it tore down the bank stripping line of the reel.

Eventually, it rubbed the 60lb leader off but I could not wind it in so I put my headlamp on to try and see where it went. I could clearly see the blue braid snaking its way over and around dirty big rocks until it went off at a 90-degree angle with no sign of my leader. I actually had to break the braid to wind it in. Hard to believe that a fish that probably wouldn’t have exceeded 4kg could do that to the type of tackle that I was using, but it is a good example of how tough they get when they get to the 50cm mark.

Jacks aren’t the only fish that you can catch this month. Whiting although not as prestigious as jacks are definitely the number one summer species. They are great chewing and fun for the whole family to catch. Gathering the bait can be a great one for getting the little ones involved.

Trevally are a good target species that are hard fighters and in excellent numbers throughout the Tweed in February. Live herring fished around rock walls or cast at schools of fish busting up or casting lures are two of the popular methods of tangling with these fish.

Bream may be thought of as a winter fish but can be very prevalent in the upper reaches of the Tweed in summer, as long as the rain stays away. Top water lures like the Lucky Craft Pencil or Bevy Popper are great for catching bream around the snags, or mangrove lined banks. Your casting needs to be spot-on for this type of fishing, but when you get the lure in the right place often several fish will be fighting for it. Its exciting stuff and the top water bite can go all day if the conditions are good.


All the offshore reports this summer have been dominated by black marlin captures and although we had to wait a bit longer than the boys in Southport to get amongst the numbers of blacks, this season has been a cracker.

Unfortunately this month is usually the last one that they will be around the Tweed in any numbers so make the most of it while it lasts.

Spotties at Palm Beach should still be an option while wahoo at the 9 Mile should also start to make their presence felt. As soon as you see the boys doing high speed laps around 9 Mile you know they are on. A word of caution though, most of the high speed trolling is done with the lures a long way back, so ensure that when you pass the stern of another boat you give them a wide berth.

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