Nerang River Mangrove Jack

by Mick Horn | Australian Lure Fishing

Nerang River

Mick Horn

Mick Horn

Sponsored Angler, Entrepreneur and Jack Guru

Mick’s called the Gold Coast home for 20 plus years. He’s a former tournament angler who has developed in his words a “pretty unhealthy obsession with Mangrove Jacks”. That’s great news for ALF listeners, because Mick is happy to tell us exactly how he’s gone about nailing way more than his share of the legendary 60 cm estuary mangrove jack. Mick is a partner in “The Unexplord” adventure clothing brand.

Mick Horn’s Top Tips For Nerang River Mangrove Jack

  • Stay focussed. If you’re serious about targeting jacks, take only mangrove jack fishing gear with you – don’t be distracted by the temptation to chase other species.
  • Expect to put in a lot of hours. Mangrove jack fishing can be hard work but is very rewarding. Even the best mangrove jack specialists expect to spend a lot of time between fish.
  • The key to finding quality jacks is to understand current, pressure points and the way this species hunts. Mick explains the likely spots and what to look for in detail in the podcast – it’s well worth a listen.
  • Use an electric motor to position yourself, then make very accurate casts to where fish are likely to be holding. The electric motor is also a key to fighting fish too, allowing the angler to wrangle the fish out of cover.
  • In the estuaries an 80-100mm lure worked quite fast is usually best. In brackish water 60-80 mm lures are better and are fished a lot slower.

Mick’s Preferred Tackle For Mangrove Jacks

  • Mick prefers baitcast gear for the control it gives when fighting fish. He likes a medium taper rod, shying away from the fast taper models because fish don’t fight as hard on a slower tapered rod.
  • Currently Mick is using Dobbins Fury rods of length 6.5 to 7 foot in 15kg line class
  • Sunline braided 20-30lb line with a 20-30lb Siglon leader (40lb in heavy cover) completes the setup

Mick’s Top 3 Lures For Mangrove Jack

  • Mick’s number one lure selection for Nerang River mangrove jack is a 80 – 100 mm paddletail soft plastic on a half ounce jig head. Zman Swimmerz, Zman Diezels, Berkley hollow belly or Live Target are all good choices. The key is to cast in a way that the lure is worked quickly just beneath the pontoon to create a reaction strike and get the fish moving way from structure. Casts need to be within centimetres of the structure or angled to get the lure close to structure.
  • Topwater lures such as an 80mm Lucky Craft G Splash during afternoons and early mornings from February to April. This lure is worked to look like a prawn with short, quick retrieves followed by short pauses. These lures work well around rock walls and points during mornings and afternoons.
  • Luckycraft pointer 100mm deep runner is a great lure for catching mangrove jacks around bridge pylons, rock walls and deep pontoons, to around 3m depth. Work slowly if the tide is low. When the tide is high, cast beyond the target and jerk down to depth before the target is reached. The shallow running Lucky Craft pointer is also a very useful jack lure in shallower water.

When To Target Nerang River Jacks

  • Gold Coast mangrove jack fishing is normally best between October and May. Big fish tend to come early in the season, around October/November and again later in the season in May/June. December to February the fish can be difficult to work out due to high water temps, it can be hit and miss.
  • Best lunar phase is coming up to the new moon when the tidal movement is increasing but not as fast as on the new or full moons.

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Mick’s Sponsors

EJ Todd have supported Mick over 14 years and believes their products are the best that come into the country.

Costa Sunnies Make some of the best polarised fishing glasses available and have supported.