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Light Line Mangrove Jacks

By Tammy Spina

I’d love to share my passion for all things light when it comes to fishing for mangrove jacks in North Queensland estuaries.

There’s nothing quite like going out for an estuary flick with my 1-2kg Infeet Ex rod and 2000 TD Sol reel spooled with 6lb braid and 6lb leader.

The anticipation of knowing that something big at any moment can snatch your lure up and bust you off before you even get a chance to say “I’M ON!!!” is a strange but addictive feeling. 

This can be a fun day out for anyone around Australia as all creeks around the country hold plenty of species to target. My favourite species around the Townsville area to target are mangrove jacks, barramundi and archer fish.

You can fish light like this land based by foot but I love fishing like this from the boat as you can target all those hard to reach snags, rocks and fallen logs.

Getting Tackled

Before you head out have a think about what gear you have and what you might need to make this experience more enjoyable. If all you own is heavy gear consider taking a trip to your local tackle store and purchasing a light 1-2kg or a 2-4kg weighted graphite rod and a small 2000-3000 size reel. Spool this with 6lb braided line and make sure you get some light 6lb to 8lb leader while you’re there. 

If you’re not sure what lure to pick my go to is a Bait Junkie 4” Grub in bloodworm colour, and the hook I use is a 1/8, 2/0 Headlock jighead. I find this weight and size perfect when casting at 1 to 6 foot deep structured banks.

The most amazing thing about Bait Junkie soft plastics is that they are designed to give the most action when slow rolled through the water column and I have found that the mangrove jacks in North Queensland creeks can’t resist these plastics when worked like this and it’s so simple to do. All you need to do is be on point with your casting to place the lure right in front of them.

To elaborate on casting, when I take people out to do this style of fishing the first thing I say to them is “how’s your casting accuracy”? You will get your lures snagged and that is ok because if you aren’t touching the snags or trees you’re casting at then chances are you aren’t fishing close enough and won’t catch many fish.  

The next thing I show friends when doing this style of fishing is the retrieve. An ultra slow roll is the way to go, and I'll show them just how slow I retrieve, so when I say slow, they understand slow. While the retrieve may seem painfully slow it's the ideal speed to keep the lure in the strike zone as long as possible and to maximise the chance of getting a strike.

The cast and retrieve process usually goes like this. Cast out, wait 1 to 5 seconds for the lure to sink, then start the retrieve at a rate of one handle crank about every four seconds. This slow and methodical movement of the lure drives a mangrove jack crazy. If there's a fish there this retrieve should just be the thing to get him to strike. 

Now get out there and give it a go! 

 

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