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Mangrove jacks in the tropics

March 11, 2021 2 min read

Mangrove jacks in the tropics by Addict Tackle

Mangrove jack are seen as something of a glamour fish, living amongst gnarly man-made structures in big cities, adapting seamlessly into urban life and crippling even the most fortified tackle. These red terrors have made a name for themselves as the bully of the canals, but where they’re at their best, arguably, is in the mangrove creeks in the tropical north. Here, they abound in numbers more akin to bream down south, and their habit of venturing out of structure in packs to attack a lure makes them a true icon of the north.

While the average size may be down in more tropical waters, the sheer numbers of fish make up for it. Heading north of around Bundaberg in Queensland sees a dramatic change in the jack fishery. When chasing their northern counterparts, the focus shifts from pontoons, jetties, bridges and boat hulls to fallen timber, mangroves and rock bars. The harshness isn’t restricted to the countryside either, with crocodiles, mosquitoes and other not-so-welcoming locals all part of the scene in the tropics. 

Fishing natural structure can present an extra challenge, in that the shapes aren’t uniform like pontoons and bridge pylons. Mangroves and fallen timbers can grow into any shape imaginable, and getting a lure into the best part of the snag can require the angler to get a bit creative. Skip casting has become a popular method to target these areas, and buoyant soft plastics rigged weedless are just about the perfect presentation when jacks are sitting well back in the junk!

ZMan’s range of soft plastics, such as the Swimmerz, Diezel MinnowZ and 4” Hard Leg Frogz are great options and with a bit of skill, can be ‘skipped’ in under even the tightest overhangs and into the thickest of cover! 

When rigged with Tackle Tactics’ Chinlockz Unweighted or Snakelockz these plastics can become an incredible tool for probing the depths of these unforgiving snag complexes. It’s then up to the angler to persuade the jack to come out for a photo!

This isn’t just the realm of plastics though, and hardbodies also have their place in this environment. The Bassday Sugar Deep 90mm Suspending Barra Tuned Lure and Rapala Ripstop Deep Lure are great options in more open areas, and will suspend naturally if more speedy presentations aren’t working. 

For surface work, you really can’t go past the MMD Splash Prawn Hard Body Lure 95mm and Halco Roosta Surface Popper 80mm

If you’re consider yourself a jack aficionado and haven’t travelled north for a fix, you might want to get on that! You’ll find yourself in an angler’s heaven soon enough!

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