G’DAY crew, I hope the silly season treated you well and you were able to get out and wet a line! We got a good run of weather from Christmas right through to the middle of January, which allowed plenty of fishing in Tin Can Bay.
We even got a few good downpours to top up the tanks and green the grass. To say mangrove jack are on fire at the moment would be an understatement. The water temperature is right up there and this always gets the jacks firing. I saw a water temp of 29.8C the other day while fishing a Tin Can Bay creek.
It was almost cooler in the boat. A lot of people prefer to fish for jacks at night to beat the heat, with fresh bait the preference for a lot of people. Small live baits and fresh cut baits fished with a light ball sinker back into the snags seem to be the winner here, and the average size of the jacks is 45-48cm.
Around here, the lure fishos have been getting runs on the board in the past few weeks with the water temps creeping up. The 4.5” Molix RT Shads rigged on OH1500 Tungsten Swimbait Hooks have been a great seller and are proving themselves a great soft plastic and hook combo.
Good results have come from running the 5/0s on a 1/4oz jig with the 4.5” plastics for skip casting into the back of the snags and under pylons. Throwing topwater lures around the twilight times can see explosive fishing when jacks are home. Getting your lure in tight around the shadows and overhanging mangroves is the key.
When you get that hit, it can be heart stopping. Poppers like the Lucky Craft 80mm G-Splash and walk the dog-style stickbaits, including the Bassday Sugapen, are a couple of the more well-known names. If you are keen to give lure fishing for jacks a go, or any fish, pop into The Chandlery Bait & Tackle and see our new range of plastics, hard-bodies and poppers that are pretty mangrove jack-specific for this time of year.
The boys will even show you how we rig them so they swim dead straight. On the topic of mangrove jack, our two-month mangrove jack fishing comp kicked off on January 2 and runs until February 29. For more details, pop into the shop and have a chat to the team to get registered or give us a call on 07 5486 4744.
So what else has been happening for those fishing Tin Can Bay over the past few weeks? Summer whiting have been around in good numbers, with yabbies and worms working the best. The beach fishos from Inskip Point down to Double Island Point have seen great numbers and sizes, with fish from 400-480g a regular occurrence.
Some nice dart are in the mix and up there in quality. Fishos who have been sneaking into a few of the smaller, less-fished creeks in the bay and fishing the tides have been well rewarded with a good number of whiting. Mixed in are a few nice lizards and good size golden trevally.
Teebar Ledge has produced solid tuskfish, sweetlip and cod.
I’ve also heard reports of spanish mackerel caught around Big Mick on 120-160mm Halco hard-bodies. While not in large numbers, it is a sign of things to come. Running a 2m and 6m diver combination out the back has worked a treat and the average size of the fish is 6-8kg.
Once we start seeing more bait in the system, the queenfish and GTs will follow suit.
For the nocturnal fishers trying to avoid the heat, good size grunter are being caught on squid bait and mullet flesh in the creeks in the area. Bird Rock has been a popular spot, with the holiday-makers reporting nice catches of cod, jacks, bream and flathead. All have been taking a mixture of lures and baits.
Mud crabs are also on the menu now. The quality of the crabs in recent weeks has been A grade. The better crabs have come from up on the flats, while the catches in the creeks seem to consist more of smaller, empty C grade crabs. Offshore, I’ve heard reports of good spanish mackerel coming over the side on trolled skirted gar, but first you need to get them past the taxman.
Large schools of cobia are out there too and a few of our regulars have been finding them off the back of manta rays in close to DI. Casting stickbaits and slugs has proven the winner there. Tuskies, blackall, pearl perch, grass emperor and the odd summer snapper have been making up good trips for the crews that have made it over the bar.
We have not yet had any reports from people fishing the new FAD off DI. I’m keen to get out there and pin a few dollies on the fly rod when it starts to fire. I’d be happy with a wahoo or even a small billfish! Anyway, that’s it for now.
‘Til next time, you can find us at the Tin Can Bay Marina, Emperor St for all your boating and fishing needs. Don’t forget to stop in and register for the mangrove jack fishing competition. Some great prizes are up for grabs!