Tweed River Mangrove Jack

by Brad "Smithy" Smith | Australian Lure Fishing

Tweed River Mangrove Jack Map
Brad Smith

Brad Smith

Fishing Guide & Journalist

Smithy operates the Gold Coast’s longest running guided fishing service, “Brad Smith Fishing Charters”, having operated for 25 years in 2019. Over this entire period his business has distinguished itself by being a lure fishing only operation. Brad frequently writes for Bush and Beach magazine and has made radio and television appearances as a fishing presenter.

Smithy’s Top Tips For Tweed River Mangrove Jack Fishing

  • Smithy prefers to target jacks in deeper water, from 4.5-9m depth. His approach is to troll the rock bars with deep diving, hard body lures that skim the bottom and remain in contact with the structure. If you’re not snagging lures occasionally, you’re not doing it right.
  • Often anglers anchor on top of the fish and then cast to the edges. Mangrove Jack are not just a side-structure target, large fish often frequent rock bars at the bottom of the river. Some rock bars in the Tweed can extend 30m into the river, so keep a close eye on the sounder to find the structure.
  • A little bit of colour in the water helps improve the bite. During clear water periods the fish can be a little more shy and difficult to tempt.
  • Trolling into the current can be effective as you can slow the travel of the lure down and work the bottom structure thoroughly. It also aids in recovering lures that get snagged
  • After hooking a jack, move the boat to the middle of the river and try and work the fish into clear water. Jacks put up a fierce fight when they are within 2-3m of their home in the rocks, but become disorientated and easier to fight once away from structure.
  • Use Google Earth and maps to find tight bends and other structure that could hold jacks and explore the river at low tide for signs of fish holding structure.
  • Trolling is much more of a science than most fishermen realise, it requires an intimate knowledge of lure swimming depth, current and structure to get the lure in front of fish.

Smithy’s Mangrove Jack Tackle Selection

  • Atomic Fish Arrow rods are a great value rod that does the job well. Smithy couples an 8-12 or 10-12kg line class rod with a Curado baitcast reel, 50lb braided line and a 50lb leader.
  • Don’t skimp on quality as jacks will make you pay if your gear is not up to scratch.

Preferred Conditions For Mangrove Jack Fishing

  • A high barometer (>1020HPa) is usually a good time to target jacks, but periods just before an electrical storm when the barometer drops sharply are also good for a hot bite.
  • An hour ether side of the high or low tide is Smithy’s preferred period for targetting not just jacks, but all estuarine species.
  • The week leading up to and the week following full and dark moons tend to produce the best results. “No Run, No Fun”.

Smithy’s Pick For The Best Mangrove Jack Lures

  • Atomics 75 and 85 Double Deep
  • Deep Diving Bomber
  • Manns Stretch 20 plus.
  • Choose your lure based on water depth, current and direction you’re trolling so the the lures are constantly knocking the bottom. For example, trolling into the current causes lures to run deeper.

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