Andy Phipps

Andy Phipps

Fishing Journalist, Guide & Chef

Phippsy has over 50 years of fishing experience in Australia and the South Pacific, and has fished the Noosa system for 30 years, 22 of those years as a professional guide. A former chef, he was host of the national fishing show “Hooked on Water” and the travel show “Getaway”. He also has 12 years as fishing & boating reporter for National Nine News with 500 live news crosses under his belt and is a competent cameraman, producer and writer of 150 TV segments. If that’s not enough, he authored 3 best-selling cookbooks: ‘Fish and Phipps’, ‘More Fish and Phipps and other tantalising treats’ and ‘Hooked On Seafood’.

 Phippsy’s Mangrove Jack Fishing Tips

  • Mangrove Jack fishing is different in the Noosa River. Despite their name, this species is often not associated with mangroves in this area, because the mangrove species in the system don’t grow in water of sufficient depth to offer protection to a Jack. Instead, look for them around snags, rock bars, anywhere there are oysters, undercut mud banks, bridges and rock wall. They even move away from the snags and take surface lures over clear bottom at times.
  • It’s possible to catch mangrove jack on lures right through the day, but this species is more aggressive and active around dawn and dusk and right through the evening. Hot, balmy days fish best and jacks love current – a runout tide will often se them venture further from the structure to grab a feed of prawns or baitfish.
  • A stable barometer and periods just before a storm often result in a hot bite.
  • Mangrove jack are a mobile species and can be found anywhere in the estuary at times. Be aware that on a full moon they may disappear out to sea to spawn.
  • When they’re in snags or rock bars, jacks tend to be well back – if bait is getting smashed deep in snags you can bet it’s a mangrove jack. Andy reckons it pays not to worry about how you’re going to get a fish out, but simply peg your lure as deep into cover as possible and worry about those minor details once you’re connected to a jack.
  • Striking to the side, rather than vertically, when a mangrove jack takes your tends to turn his head to the side and helps stop him from heading back to cover.
  • Use lures that imitate locally abundant food sources. Prawns make up a large part of the diet of mangrove jacks, so any lure that looks and moves like a prawn is a good bet. Small baitfish are the other common prey and matching lures to the herring, biddy’s, whiting and so on that are on the fish’s menu is a good policy.
  • Be sure to use quality gear that’s well maintained, that your knots are all well tied and your leader is in good condition. Jacks are very unforgiving.

Phippsy’s Mangrove Jack Fishing Tackle

  • Phippsy uses lighter tackle than most jack enthusiasts would be used to. He prefers spin gear and favours the Wilson Blue Steel Light Estuary Rod coupled with 4000 size ATC spin reel. He loads the reel with 10lb braid and uses a 10lb fluorocarbon leader. By choosing when and when he fishes, Phippsy often takes jacks when they are away from structure, allowing him to use lighter gear.
  • When he’s fishing larger lures in tough structure or in other systems where barra are more prevalent round, Phippsy switches to baitcast gear and uses a Shimano Curado reel, a Samurai 6-14lb rod with 30lb braid. In the Noosa system he might go up to a 20lb leader for this scenario.

Noosa Mangrove Jack Fishing Lures

  • The Bassday Sugapen in 70mm size is Phippsy’s preferred topwater lure for targeting jacks and can be blooped like a popper, fished “walk the dog” style or ripped across the surface, depending on the circumstances. Phippsy recommends landing this lure as deep into a snag as possible, giving it a couple of twitches and the letting it sit a second or two before working it back.
  • The ubiquitous Gold or Green Bomber is a consistent and versatile fish taker in northern Australia, and Phippsy has plenty of success with this lure on Noosa River mangrove jacks. This lure tends to attract fish out of the structure by virtue of its action. Be sure to spend a couple of extra bucks to get the ones with heavy duty terminals.
  • Some kind of soft plastic prawn imitation is a good option in the Noosa system, but if he had to pick just one Phippsy favours the Atomic Prong, which can be hidden weighted and sunk into snags or rigged on a jig head and worked past mud banks.
  • The RMG Scorpion is a great lure that runs at around 2.5m and is perfect if you need a lure to get down deeper around rock bars and so on.
  • Phippsy is looking forward to giving The Lively Lures Ziggy a run on the Noosa red dog population.

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Australian Bass Tackle Cheat Sheet
Episode 547: Fishing Around Exmouth In Spring With Steve Riley

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Episode 537: Hinchinbrook Winter Mangrove Jack With Adam Royle

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Mangrove jack lures


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