Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Mangrove Jacks Rise to the Attack

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Mangrove Jacks Rise to the Attack

Article excerpt

MANGROVE jack, lutjanus argentimaculatus, are one of the most sought after estuary species in South-east Queensland due to their extremely tough fighting ability. Jacks adore tropical conditions and the tasty snacks that come with the increasing temperature. The current weather pattern of hot, humid afternoons followed by stormy evenings is music to the ears of keen sports anglers, mangrove jack fans and baitfish catchers alike as they too like the change in weather but for different reasons. The past two weeks we have seen massive schools of herring boiling on the surface in a feeding frenzy throughout the Maroochy River - a great indication that summer has arrived early! These herring are at the bottom of the food chain for most big predators and, along with small mullet and river prawns, make up the majority of a mangrove jack's diet.

The green river prawn numbers usually increase during October in our local creeks, upper reaches and canals. It was slow to start with but now that October is drawing to an end, more positive sightings of green prawns have been reported. This is when a cast net can become invaluable to an angler who is trying to match what the mangrove jack are feeding on.

For those unlucky enough not to own a cast net or couldn't be bothered catching live bait, mullet fillets can be equally as good when fished with light to no weight close by structure. Drift the slab with the tide past a rock wall, pylon, snag or rocky drop off. Unlike conventional jack fishing, be prepared to give the fish some slack line and feel it chewing the bait before setting the hooks. Once hooked, don't give them any line, with a tight drag lift and wind, otherwise you'll end up bricked.

These fish are as comfortable around snaggy environments as I am with a fishing rod in my hands. Their favourite habitats include rocky structures, bridge pylons and fallen trees, under pontoons, deep holes and, as adults, inshore reefs. Mangrove jack are drawn to these habitats as they provide great shelters. They also head here for cover when they become hooked, and this is when anglers' lines tend to snap as they rub against the usually abrasive surfaces. …

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