Mangrove Jack is the thug of the Estuaries, one of the toughest competitors who's love for snag infested waters demands strong man handling tactics!
How To Identify:
Mangrove Jack are a typical perch shape. They can range from almost pale pink to a dirty red brown. They have large eyes, strong jaws and powerful canine teeth. Each scale has a dark spot. They are often confused with the Red Bass, Red Bass have a much brighter red hue than the Mangrove Jack and Red Bass have a deep pit before their eye which the Jack doesn't. They can grow as large as 12kgs on offshore reefs however commonly caught in the estuaries up to about 2kgs. For more info see Fishes of Australia - Mangrove Jack.
How To Catch:
Mangrove Jacks can be caught by a number of methods however they all involve fishing very close to cover - which can have disasters results! Mangrove jack are one of the fastest fish to take a bait (or lure) and turn and head back to the snag from where they came, demanding that strong tackle be used. Mangrove Jack will take live or dead bait - however live mullet definitely being one of the best. Cast your live mullet as close to cover as you dare, suspended usually under a float and hold on. Also Mangrove are often targeted with minnow or surface poppers worked closely to the snags. They hit extremely hard and need to be stopped quickly before they head back to cover.
In Australia Mangrove Jack are essentially a tropic and sub tropic fish ranging from just inside Northern New South Wales, right through Queensland, Northern Territory into the Northern half of Western Australia. Mangrove Jack can be found from the far up reaches of freshwater streams that feed into large estuary systems, down right through out the estuary system itself and out on to headlands and close reefs (where it is often confused with the Red Bass)