The heavy Chasebaits Flick Prawn is a perfect prawn imitation and gets deep into mangrove jack hideouts.

Winter mangrove jacks

Shaun and Phil managed a double hook-up.
The author with an average winter mangrove jack.

AUGUST signals the end of the calm winter days and cold nights. It is an excellent month to chase a wide range of species in southeast Queensland. There will still be plenty of cold weather this month but we normally see northerly wind turn up towards the end of the month, which will begin to see the water temperature rise slightly.

It’s an excellent month to chase flathead around Brisbane and the annual flathead spawning will begin around the end of the month on the Gold and Sunshine coasts. A lot of larger flathead will begin to make their way into the deeper water around the bar entrances such as the Gold Coast Seaway and Jumpinpin. They are normally very aggressive and hungry at this time of year and can be enticed to eat a lure much easier than later in the season. Expect to find plenty of smaller males hanging around the big girls and solid jewies should also be in the same areas. Winter mangrove jack

Mangrove jack will be more aggressive this month. I’ve had many good sessions during August over the years and I’ll be out there this year looking to get an early jack fix. Some anglers believe jacks leave the estuaries during winter to go offshore, but that isn’t the case. Some jacks might, but loads remain in the rivers and creeks.

They slow down a lot during winter and feed less, but still need to eat. Though I don’t put much time into jacks during winter, I always hook a few as by-catch when targeting other species around structure including rocks, fallen trees and deep holes. This winter, two of my mates and I decided we would head a couple of hours north to target them specifically. Winter mangrove jack

I have caught plenty of jacks in the areas we were going to target over the years, so we picked a good tide and packed a variety of lures and baits to see how we’d go. Many people won’t use bait to chase jacks, but we only had a small window of time, so wanted to maximise our chances. The plan was to cast lures around early of a morning, then float pilchards and pike into some rocks and fallen trees.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t on our side and we had a 25-knot southeasterly wind and showers to deal with. This didn’t seem to worry the jacks, with Shaun landing a good fish within the first hour of fishing. It measured bang on 50cm, which is a good-quality fish for the area we were fishing.

The action went a bit quiet after that, so we dropped anchor on a rubble patch and drifted some baits into it. Shaun was on again, landing a small jack, while we all hooked a few bream and cod as well. We gave a bit of fallen timber and mangrove edges a go next and I boated a jack in the high-30cm range and lost a good one. Winter mangrove jack

The next spot was a rock bar and Phil got the fourth and final jack in the mid-30cm range. By this stage we were cold and wet but still happy we landed four jacks in very ordinary conditions. Hopefully I can get a chance to chase a few more jacks during August.

So far the flathead season hasn’t been great around Brisbane, but hopefully it fires up a bit later and more fish show up during August and September. That’s it from me. Get out there and enjoy the good weather and clean water. Winter mangrove jack

I hope to see you on the water.

For autumn jack tips, click here!

About Keith Stratford

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