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Fly Fishing

Chasing Golden Trevalley on the Magnetic Island flats.


Enjoying one of the many beautiful beaches of Magnetic Island.

Saturday 13 November 2010

Mangrove Jack on Plastics

With Barramundi off limits, Dave Little and I decided today to fish plastics on light 1000 size spin gear among the snags for some Mangrove Jack. You might call it 'finesse' fishing for Jacks! A bit of a scary thought at first, but despite the odd fish burying you in the blink of eye, its a whole lot of fun. 

We started the morning meeting up at my place around 4.30am and after a quick re-fuel and some ice, we were off to one of the nearby creeks. At the moment there is likely to be a fair bit of fresh coming down the bigger rivers, so we decided on one of the creeks that doesn't have a catchment area. The water where we put in was spectacularly clear and a beautiful rich colour. We initially headed up stream looking for some 'quiet' water, but it proved to be the wrong move.

Up stream the water did have a little fresh in it and, despite being quite clear, had a bit of a cloudy look to it. It still looked good, so we worked the area for a while. I was fishing a Stella 1000fe with 8lb power pro. My first fish came reasonably quickly hitting hard and running for cover. The reel raced and it was all over! 'More drag, more drag' I was saying repeatedly to Dave! Despite only fishing 8lb braid, I could have had the drag screwed up considerably more. Dave was next to get a fish, and the way it hit and ducked for cover had us convinced it was a Jack. The fish made it to the snags, but was still attached to the end of the line. We took the boat in and freed the fish, only to find it was a nice Cod. He was happily sent on his way again. 

We continued to work the upper reaches of the creek, but could only manage the odd strike. We were almost at a loss as to where the Jacks were when suddenly my prong was smacked. This time I was firm on the spool and fish was 'firmly' led from the snags. A nice netting from Dave and we had our first Mangrove Jack. Unfortunately it only went 34cm. So a quick pick and release. 

After working this area for a couple of hours with very little reward, we decided to head back to the mouth and the better looking water. As we raced past the ramp my car was still the only one parked there, so at least we would have the area to ourselves. Indeed the water was much better looking, and after spotting some big bream cruising the shallows, and seeing a couple of fish smack the surface of the water, we were keen as mustard. And it didn't take long to see some interest in our plastics.

The main fish working the area appeared to be Bream, but there were some stonkers among them! One nice big black fish we spotted sitting high in the water among the mangrove roots. I put my 3in prong that was rigged weedless on a worm hook in behind the fish. As it dropped off the roots and into the water the big bream spun around and grabbed the lure instantly. It failed to hook up, but was an awesome sight to see. Dave had some interest from a Bream that was over 40cm. It had a go at his plastic and followed it out from the snags, but again this fish never found the hooks. 

I managed a couple more Mangrove Jack, one that went 36.5cm. It was a good fish, and a real challenge on light gear. We also managed a few small GT, a Barracouda and couple of flathead. I also caught 2 small Barramundi that were unavoidable among the sticks. The biggest was approximately 55/56cm and put up a brilliant fight on the Stella. Probably the fish of the morning.

We didn't pull the boat out of the water until about 1pm, and despite only putting one fish in the eski we had had a blast catching and releasing plenty of quality specimens. The pick of the lures for the morning was an Atomic 3in Prong in a pure white colour. It was rigged on a 1/0 worm hook with a '00' size ball sinker tied into the bottom half of a small loop knot. This is a deadly combination offering a relatively snag-proof plastic to fish among the mangrove roots. I used a Shimano Stella 1000fe and T-cureve 661 2-5kg rod, 8lb power pro and 20lb mono leader. This is proving a spectacular combination.