Alex Watson fishing bio

Alex Watson

Gold Coast Jack Fishing Enthusiast

Alex is mangrove jack obsessed and is a passionate member of suntagger – which means there are good numbers of Gold Coast mangrove jacks getting tagged and released, great news for those who care about the future of the species. Spring and summer are when Alex likes to hit the pontoons and man made structures in the area, which is exactly what we discuss in todays episode.

Alex’s Top Tips For Mangrove Jack

  • Be prepared to fish the entire day. When you’re first getting started it can be hard to know where to fish and when. By fishing through the day you’ll be sure to be on the water at some stage when they become active and can start to put together the puzzle and figure the mangrove jack out.
  • October/November is the time of year when Gold Coast mangrove jacks start to feed a little more freely. Alex likes to start by launching as far upstream as he can, motoring downstream whilst watching the water temperature and water quality.
  • A rising temperature of 24C and above is best, then look for reasonable clarity and the presence of bait. Fish will be everywhere on all types of structure through , but Alex likes to focus on pontoons, especially if they have current flowing onto them.
  • A single pontoon in a channel will almost always have fish on it at some stage through the tidal cycle, even if it’s in a canal arm that has no flow. Usually the bigger the structure the bigger and larger in number the mangrove jacks it will hold.
  • A perfect day for fishing pontoons would have water temps of 26-28C, at the start of a run-in on a smaller tide around 9-10am in the morning. There’s always activity in the early morning, but Alex finds that jacks can be caught right through the day.
  • When you’re fishing for jacks around pontoons, back the drag off slightly as the initial hit can be savage. Let them run for the first metre or so. Usually in terms of vertical structure pontoons only have two poles, so unlike more complex natural structure you still have a very good chance of extracting them.

Alex’s Gold Coast Mangrove Jack Tackle

  • Alex will usually have 4-5 rods rigged, one with a surface lure, a couple with topwater lures, a couple with deep divers and a soft plastic, so he can switch between fishing styles quickly without retying lures.
  • A 2500 size Shimano Stradic with 20-30lb braid and a 7” medium taper spin rod in the 7-14lb range and a 20-30lb leader is a good starting point.

Alex’s Top Mangrove Jack Lures

  • A 65mm Luckycraft G Splash that’s been tricked up with 60lb rings and super strong size 4 hooks has a very different blooping sound to the same lure straight from the packet. This is a great lure for throwing along rock walls, pontoons, in the shallows and so on around first light just to see what fish are there and whether they’ll be interested. This lure can sometimes be fished right through the day, but most people switch to subsurface fairly shortly after dawn. On a high tide around dawn it can be productive to fish it between the pontoon and the shore and fish it either with long draws and pauses, it a skittish, erratic retrieve.
  • The Lucky Craft Pointer 78 in both XD and mid diving models have a tight action and cn be fished from deep to mid to shallow, depending on how you work it. This makes the lure good on rockwalls, pontoons, rockbars and pretty much any jack holding structure. Early in the day, cast upcurrent to the top corner of the pontoon and work it just a bit faster than the current so it runs close to the underside of the pontoon. As the day progresses, work it faster and deeper, sometimes with pauses, jacks don’t usually travel more than 0.5m to hit it. When fishing a pontoon that’s over a rocky bottom, work the lure to full depth.
  • The Jackall Squirrel 79mm has a wider wobble and is shallower running than the pointer. Cast it as close to structure as possible and then roll it past. Alex rotates between this lure and the pointer because they’re fished the same way and he can quickly switch to a lure with a different action without changing the way he fishes it.

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Episode 547: Fishing Around Exmouth In Spring With Steve Riley

Episode 547: Fishing Around Exmouth In Spring With Steve Riley

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Episode 537: Hinchinbrook Winter Mangrove Jack With Adam Royle

Episode 537: Hinchinbrook Winter Mangrove Jack With Adam Royle

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.

Mangrove jack lures

1 Comment

  1. Stephen Wilson

    What’s awesome podcast !!!!! I watch his YouTube channel and it’s just as informative as this chat was

    One of your best , will be logging on today for the extended version


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