MANGROVE Jack Anglers Tournament number six saw the 60cm mangrove jack barrier not only beaten but totally smashed out of the park.
Arnie Joseph would have thought he was in a strong position to take out biggest jack on bait with a 60cm fish, and rightly so seeing as we had never seen a 60cm fish captured during the comp. Then Chris Sutton chimed in with his 66cm horse to resoundingly take out the biggest jack on bait category.
For the first time, the comp was split into bait and lure categories. Each category had separate biggest jack and total length prizes. As mentioned, Arnie and Chris battled it out for the biggest on bait, however Chris was no match for Arnie in the total length category, with Arnie collecting a massive 429cm of mangrove jack, all peacefully released to fight another day.
The lure category saw a much tighter battle, with Mitch Ferris scoring the biggest jack with a 51.5cm fish over Jai Whell’s 49.5cm red dog. The total length division was taken out by Owen McPaul’s 167.5cm over Jai with 88cm.
Jai also did well by winning the Dream Kayaks Beast lucky door prize. The bonus species this year was a flathead over 50cm. We had plenty of flathead by-catch submitted, with James Somerfield catching an 80cm (approximately) flathead.
I say approximately because our custom-made jack brag mats only run to 70cm. We were also lucky enough to have the Yak Hunters crew join our comp for one leg of their yearly events. David Hopper took out the Yak Hunters division with a 41cm jack.
For those who are a little more analytical, here is the data that sparks many conversations and much debate. We had 137 competitors in the final Mangrove Jack Anglers Tournament for 2017, comprising 44 bait fishers, 85 lure fishers and eight juniors.
Of the 85 lure fishers, 13 submitted legal-sized jacks (15 percent). Of the 44 bait anglers, 13 captured legal jacks (29 percent). Lure fishers caught 17 fish with a total length of 7.36m at an average length of 43.5cm.
Bait fishers picked up 35 fish with a total length of 16.75m at an average length of 47.8cm, meaning 52 jacks in total were landed during the comp.
We must thank our Mangrove Jack Anglers Tournament major sponsors BCF Oxenford, Dream Kayaks, Mako Eyewear, Weapons Custom Rods, Marquee Events, Viking Tackle & Boat Sales and Minn Repairs as well as our minor sponsors Caino Lures, 2Deep, Bush ‘n Beach Fishing magazine, D&H Reel Repairs and Mick Molnar Marine Art.
A special thanks also goes to Coomera Waters Tavern for providing a great venue for our presentation and of course the one and only John ‘The Jack Guide’ Costello for again being MC on the day.
Be sure to keep an eye out for John’s new jack fishing DVD, focusing on catching jacks from a kayak. MJA is growing bigger and stronger, and speaking with competitors throughout the weekend, many are describing the event as a marathon jack session – the Bathurst of mangrove jack fishing.
Fish caught in the last 30 minutes of fishing time can affect the results, just the same as fish landed in the first 15 minutes of fishing time on the Friday. Some anglers fish all day and party at night, while some fish at night and sleep all day.
Some fish for bite times only and others live in their boat for the entire weekend. This is a competition that not only brings the mangrove jack fishing community together and away from the keyboard banter but also brings out the competitive spirit in many of us.
See you at the next Mangrove Jack Anglers Tournament.