Shane “Shaggy” Seghers
Sponsored Angler And Jack Addict
Shaggy relocated to the Gold Coast around 8 years ago and mangrove jack fishing with lures soon became his obsession. A catch and release jack specialist, Shaggy has tagged and recaptured multiple mangrove jacks, enabling him to get some unique insights into the fishery in his own back yard.
Shaggy’s Top Mangrove Jack Fishing Tips
- Shaggy’s big tip is that once you’ve figured out the tides that work for mangrove jack fishing in for your area, the time of day doesn’t matter much. Jacks can be caught on most phases of the tide if you vary your technique and fish the right parts of the system. Shaggy’s favourite strategy is to head well upstream as the tide peaks, then work his way back downstream following the falling tide.
- The prime days to fish are when the tides are building after the neap. Once you get in the vicinity of a 1.7m tide following a period of low tidal movement the fish really get stirring. If the barometer is over 1020, even better!
- The best months for mangrove jack fishing the Southern Gold Coast are October to April, with the biggest fish coming towards the end of that period. Shaggy’s tag recaptures suggest that this might be due to phenomenal growth rates over summer as fish gorge themselves.
- When fishing natural structure Shaggy is typically working depths around 3-4m and has a preference for trees that are long dead and especially those that are beneath water even at the bottom of the tide. that said, if other snags are holding bit it’s a good bet that jacks will be in attendance also.
- The biggest test when jack fishing is maintaining focus. You may fish for hours to get a single bite, but if you’re not 100% focussed when it happens the fish will have smashed you off in a microsecond.
Shaggy’s Mangrove Jack Tackle
- Shaggy takes four rigged rods with him when he heads off after the red dogs: Two spin rods for throwing prawn imitations and light lures (especially around pontoons) and two baitcast outfits for targeting fish around natural structure such as trees.
- The spin tackle is typically a 6-7 foot 5-9kg rod with a quality 2500 size reel. Shaggy uses Shimano Stradics, but beware that some models require a drag washer upgrade before jack fishing. The reels are spooked with 20lb braid and he uses a 30-40lb leader early in the season but switches to 40lb later in the season.
- The baitcast tackle is comprised of a Daiwa Zillion coupled with a 6ft, 5-9kg rod, 30lb braid and a 40lb fluorocarbon leader.
Best Mangrove Jack Lures
- For Topwater: Shaggy likes the Duo Realis Pencil. This lure is fished close to natural structure and works best during low light periods. A walk the dog retrieve style will usually get crashed by an angry jack if you get the lure in the right spot.
- Soft Plastics: Shaggy prefers the Molix 4.5” RT Shad, which he fishes weedless on a 3/8oz weighted worm hook with a nose screw to faster the lure securely. For those newer to mangrove jack luring the Z-Man SwimmerZ are also very effective. When fishing natural structure Shaggy casts these lures as deep and hard into structure as he can, then slowly crawls them out with a slow roll. Around pontoons they can be fished much faster, close to the floats.
- For hard body lures Shaggy prefers a Jackall Squirrel or a Lucky Craft Pointer (78mm XD model). It’s important to upgrade the hooks and rings for jack fishing, but you need to balance this with having a lure that still suspends. These are used around rock walls and bars and Shaggy like to first sit off the wall and make a cast to it, ripping the lure a couple of times to get it down and then slow rolling it. If that doesn’t get results he’ll move in close to the wall and cast up-current, slow rolling his lure parallel to the structure.
- Prawn Lures such as Chase Baits Flick Prawns are very effective, These are fishes along rock walls where the water depth is 4-6m and the rock meets sand or mud. Use the heavy model for big systems like the Tweed and the light version for smaller systems. These are worked very slowly to mimic the natural movement of a prawn walking along the bottom.
Reel Outlaws Fishing Apparel keep Shaggy clotted in quality, lightweight, sun protective fishing shirts, hats and buffs.
Mark Bergs Addict Tackle have supported Shaggy’s mangrove jack addiction and are a great place to go and get fishing advice.
Sax Scents produce a uniquely Australian range of fishing scents that Shaggy applies to soft plastics he uses for jack fishing.
Brag Rag produces multi-purpose fishing rags for measuring and handling fish.