This week’s Big Hit Fishing estuary tips and report
Chasing Mangrove Jacks. They’re many people’s bucket list fish, while others have a knack of catching them regularly. As more anglers target them so there seems to bigger and more fish.
The easiest way to catch them on the Gold Coast is by using live baits such as poddy mullet or even better, whiting. Winter whiting are plentiful in the gold coast broadwater and easily caught on yabbies, worms, thin strips of squid, or lures. I catch tons of them on blade vibes and they have no size limit.
Keep your whiting alive, they are quite hardy in a bucket with a battery operated aerator. You want to be anchored just before sunset, in an area with some tidal flow and near structure, using a running sinker trace with 4/0 snelled circle hooks, and a sinker just large enough to hold bottom.
Push the front hook through the upper lip of the whiting, and the other into the anal hole then out the side. They seem to stay alive longer this way rather than through their back near their sensitive lateral line.
Baitrunner reels are a good option, this gives the jacks a chance to kill and begin to move off with the bait. React quickly when they do, they can brick you in seconds. If you are fishing in an area with heavy, snaggy structure wind be very quick to react.
Light line is not an option, you’ll possibly need 40 lb braid, with 50 lb leader to stop the bigger jacks. Even then you’ll still get smoked, especially in the Nerang river where some of the biggest jacks are.
A few more tips:
*Bigger tides try more upstream. Smaller tides more downstream. *Try to be where there is reasonable tidal flow but not too much.
*Fish around the tide changes during big tides when there is not too much run.
*Use quality strong hooks, or jacks will happily straighten them.
*Hot and stormy days with a rising barometer can provide good action
*Move a few times during the evening, try two or three spots
*Keep things quiet on the boat, don’t make noise with the anchor chain, and keep lights to a minimum. Do not shine torches into or near the water!
*Make up enough traces for the night so you can quickly replace them when you lose them on snags or fish.
*Put out two or three rods in strong rod holders, with different baits on each one.
*Hold on tight if you choose to hold the rod and engage the reel, or they will rip it out of your hands and into the water.
*Be patient, their violent strikes can come at any time when least expected.
*Pontoons, moored boats, bridge pylons, rocky walls, corners on entrances to canals and marinas all hold jacks.
The local Gold Coast and Tweed rivers, creeks and lakes all hold monster size jacks, get out there and have a go.
The far upper reaches have been productive for Smithy this week. This is where most of the baitfish have been holding and so have the predators, with vibes tempting the school mulloway, flathead, bream, and wild bass.
The lower to middle reaches have produced whiting on surface lures, best sessions have been on sunny days.
Clint has been doing a fair few charters with families and kids in the broadwater. The wind direction has made it tough some days but still we kept the rods bending with some winter whiting, flathead, tuskfish, small trevally.
To keep the kids entertained we do two things. First we pump yabbies when the tide allows, and we also use blade vibes. Fish just can’t resist an Ecogear ZX40 coated with Sax scent. It pays to try different colours to find what works as every day is different.
On any given day either the yabbies or the lures, or both can produce the best results as far as fish quantity and size goes.
With the big tides coming up this weekend, we’ll be fishing out of the main flow to get the right speed drift, plus upstream and lake areas chasing trevally, jacks, and cod.
Hope to fish with you soon!
Smithy & Clinto