Gladstone Jack Fishing Gun
Bryce is a passionate fisho who grew up fishing the Gladstone area before moving away. Since his return a couple of years back he’s been creaming the local mangrove jack population – and today he shares just how he’s been doing that!
Bryce’s Tips For Gladstone Mangrove Jack
- There’s no substitute for time on the water when it comes to mangrove jack fishing. Putting in the hours to figure out how your local systems fish and to develop confidence with the lures that work for you is important. Just because a lure works for one person doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for another, so find those that work for you.
- Mangrove jack can turn up in some surprising places, you’ll even pick them up from sandflats at times. That said, they are definitely more consistent in heavy structure, so concentrate on mangrove fringes, banks with overhangs and any place there is good cover that gets hit by water flow. In the middle of the day, shady areas are always a good place to start.
- There are numerous rivers, creeks, fringing mangrove systems, inlets and islands in the Gladstone area and all hold jacks. It’s usually better to stay in one area and work it over thoroughly, rather than motoring around all over the place looking for fish.
- Some of the best sessions happen in the worst conditions, but glassy no wind conditions during periods leading into either a full moon or a new moon definitely fish best. Neap tides tend to be a bit tough and really big tides tend to push fish back into areas they can’t be targeted. The mid-range tides and fishing the last part of the run out and start of the run in tide can work well, especially flicking lures at snags that are still in the water at low tide.
- Focus on the pressure points where currents hit banks or structures and form eddies as these hold bait and the jacks will wait there for the bait to come to them.
- In terms of extracting fish from structure, Bryce likes to fish his quite heavy, but not fully locked. The idea is to keep them under enough pressure that they can’t turn and go back into the snag, but not so much that they’ll bust you off. Be prepared to get into the water occasionally to recover snagged fish (don’t do this further north where there are crocs though)
Bryce’s Mangrove Jack Fishing Tackle
- A 2-4kg baitcast rod with matching reel 20lb braid and 30lb leader is perfect for mangrove jack fishing around the Gladstone area.
Bryce’s Best Mangrove Jack Fishing Lures
- The 95mm MMD Splash Prawn is a great hard body surface lure for mangrove jack, especially on overcast days or during low light periods, although they’ll catch fish right through the day, especially if you throw them into shadows. After casting, let the lure sit on the surface for a few seconds, give it a couple of twitches and then a pause. Repeat this process all the way back to the bank as jacks will sometimes follow it well away from structure and even take it boatside at times.
- The 4.5” Fish Arrow Flash J Shad rigged weedless on a lightly weighted 4/0 Owner Beast hook is a deadly jack tool. This lure skips nicely to get it under overhanging mangroves and can then be worked not too far beneath the surface. You’re looking for a reaction bite, so start the retrieve as soon as the lure lands and work it relatively quickly to avoid currents carrying it into snags. When fishing undercut banks you might like to try sinking the lure deeper and a bit slower.
- The 115mm Zerek Skittish Dog in pink, yellow, gold, orange colour combinations is a fairly large lure by jack fishing standards, but Bryce has caught plenty of small jacks on this lure, so don’t be put off. It can be cast across the top of big timber and worked back at a moderate constant speed using a “walk the dog” style retrieve to get the lure zig zagging across the surface.