Tournament Angler And Jack Specialist
Mangrove jack fishing attracts a special kind of obsessed lure throwing nut and Arnie Joseph is one of those nuts! Whilst he fishes for lots of species jacks are high on Arnie’s list of target species, and the Hinchinbrook area is high on his list of target destinations.
Arnie’s Top Mangrove Jack Fishing Tips
- Spend some time at home searching Google Earth for likely places where structures and currents are likely to bring bait fish to the jacks. Points, deep bends, snags, rock bars and man made structures all hold fish
- Once on the water, look for signs of activity such as baitfish, bustups, birds or other indications that there might be a food source for jacks. They’re ambush predators and usually don’t stray too far from cover, especially when currents bring food past.
- Arnie prefers the smaller tides around the quarter and three quarter moons for jack fishing. Bigger tides push the fish deep into the mangrove roots where they are not accessible.
- Runout tides fish best as the fish will lie in wait for bait that gets forced out of the mangroves by receding water. The first half of the run-in tide can fish well too, although Arnie reckons fish can be caught on any tide with a bit of perseverance.
Arnie’s Preferred Mangrove Jack Tackle
- Arnie fishes baitcast rods in the 10-20lb line class, but quality spin gear is also good. Arnie uses a Curado 150 reel, 20lb braid and a 30lb leader for Hinchinbrook mangrove jacks, but lighter leader is sometimes needed if the fish are a bit shy.
Arnie’s Mangrove Jack Fishing Lures
- 5″ Samaki Boom Bait Bomb Shads are great on Jacks. Use a 1/6 to 1/8 jig head, depending on current, cast them deep in among the structure and slow roll them back out. Adding twitches and pauses can sometimes help. but Arnie usually prefers a slow, constant retrieve.
- The Jackall Squirrel is a great hard body lure that is particularly effective on mangrove jacks around deeper areas such as rock bars and river bends. Fishing them as tight to cover as you dare and again the simple slow roll is a very effective technique. However, twitches and pauses can also help stimulate a bite when things are quiet! Upgrading the hooks can turn this lure from a suspending offering to a slow sinker, but Arnie finds the stock hooks to be fine for mangrove jack fishing.
- The Luckycraft G Splash is great on surface jacks and is often taken the moment it splashes down, before the reel is even in gear. Best saved for the warmer months when jacks are more active on the surface.
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.