Gladstone Fishing Personality
Dan has been fishing the Gladstone area for many years and has been targeting the resident Mangrove Jack population for over a decade. When he’s not on the water fishing, Dan is producing and uploading fishing videos onto YouTube to help others improve their chances of hooking a mangrove jack.
Dan’s Top Mangrove Jack Fishing Tips
- Don’t go undergunned. Jacks are tough and fight dirty, be sure you have a good length of heavy, abrasion resistant leader as you’re guaranteed to be dragged through rocks and snags any time you go jack fishing.
- This species is more mobile than most people realise and exploits opportunities created by rising and falling tides. The trick to consistently finding them is to know where they’ll be on a given phase of the tide.
- Periods around the new and full moon create tidal movement of 4.5m around the Gladstone area. The big low tides are the perfect opportunity to do a recce and memorise the location of ledges, rock bars and other structure that jacks will retreat to on a falling tide to ambush bait. The high tide during these periods usually sees the jacks move deep into mangrove forests where there is little chance of getting a lure to them.
- While the big tides are good for reconnaissance, the smaller tides leading up to the full and new moons tend to offer better fishing opportunities. Dan likes the last half of the falling tide and positions himself on the retreat points he identified previously.
- Areas of hard mud bank with undercuts, patches of coffee rock and rock bars offer the best opportunity. Snags hold jacks too, but Daniel catches most of his fish over other structures. Look for areas where currents change direction or strike banks.
Dan’s Suggested Jack Fishing Tackle
- Dan likes both spin and baitcast gear. For the spinning combo he prefers a 4000 size reel with a smooth, solid drag loaded with a minimum of 30lb braid and a 6-8 kg rod of around 7′ in length, preferably of a fairly fast taper.
- For baitcast gear Dan likes a shorter rod of 6′, again in the 6-8kg line class, with a high retrieve ratio reel, again with a smooth drag and a minimum 30lb braided line.
- Suffix 832 in 30-40lb braid is Dan’s preference, with a minimum of 2m of 40lb abrasion resistant leader. He prefers a loop knot for attaching lures as clips can upset the balance of suspending lures.
Dan’s Mangrove Jack Fishing Lures
- The Rapala XSR10 Slashbait is a great shallow swimming lure that has a rolling action that works well on Jacks. He likes the natural baitfish colours and tends to use this lure where there is a fair bit current running, especially along ledges, over gravel bars and coffee rock. Dan finds that if you cast this lure tight to a bank and then fish it with short twitches and pauses it can stay close to the back as the current carries it 5-10m, covering a lot of jack territory.
- The 50mm Rapala Shadow Rap Jack Deep is probably more commonly thought of as a bream lure, but Dan finds it very effective on mangrove jack if he replaces the stock hooks with smaller but heavier gauge hooks. These hooks also make the lure suspend, allowing him to work them enticingly in the jack’s face with plenty of pauses. This lure dives to around 3m and works well along deeper ledges and snags that are away from the banks. It’s also a good choice when the fish are in a less aggressive mood.
- The Storm 360 Coastal Shrimp either rigged weedless or on a 3/8 jig head, depending on the circumstances, is a great lure for chasing Gladstone Jacks. Dan particularly likes to cast this soft plastic prawn onto flats on the run out tide and let them just trickle over the edge of the ledges without imparting too much action. If they’re not taken on the ledge he’ll wind them very slowly with occasional pauses, keeping the lure as close to the bottom as possible.
Mangrove jack are a popular North Australian specie, but how much do you know about their habits and behaviours?
Every time I interview Steve Riley about fishing the Exmouth area I get blown away by the opportunities on offer, but I think this interview could be my favourite so far. Steve spills the beans on five land-based fishing spots that are available to visiting anglers during spring. In the course of the conversation we cover everything from bream and whiting to tuna, reef species and pelagics including monster GT from the beach. What a destination!
They might be considered a “warm-months” species, but Adam Royle fishes for Hinchinbrook mangrove jack right through the winter months with good success – even on topwater lures! In this episode he does a great job of explaining exactly how he achieves good catches of red dogs when the water is a little on the cooler side.