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Mangrove Jack lutjanus argentimaculatus
aka: Jack, Dog bream


Jacks are close combat specialists. Preferring to lurk with intent in the shadows and nooks of heavy structure, they are ever-ready to launch short but violent attacks on unsuspecting passing prey.

They are well camouflaged fish and their colour varies according to their habitat. They have a broad nuggety build, beginning with a very powerful paddle tail designed to deliver powerful acceleration. The business end is equipped with a respectable set of pointy knashers to inflict mortal wounds at first bite. In some parts they are known as dog bream due to the sharp dog-like dental apparatus.

It's a heavily armed total package that adds up to close quarters ambush - and that's exactly how to catch them too.


Although they can be caught on reefs and rock bars, and even beaches, by prospecting likely looking spots, the most exciting method is to work esturine snags at close range with large flies. Casting close to and into cover is what gets those smash takes capable of leaving even the most experienced anglers weak at the knees.

Jacks are most common in Northern tropical waters but will penetrate particular estuaries down the West coast to Shark Bay and the East coast to Lake Illawarra.

Smaller Jacks are common in tropical estuaries with good specimens about 40 - 50cm. In estuaries they usually appear reddish-brown or copper coloured. Bigger Jacks prefer ocean reefs, where they can attain 150cm and weights of up to 16kg.


Tackle and leader choices must be made with 'punishment' in mind. Strikes are fast and furious wich makes for really exciting close range fly fishing.

Tackle and methods for Mangrove Jack

What tackle to use
7 - 9 wt outfits.

What flies to use
Deceivers; Clouser; Popper; Crease fly; Gurgler; Whistlers; Prawn imitations; Crabs

Fishing strategy
Mangrove Jacks will feed on smaller baitfish, prawns, crabs etc.. ambushing prey from the safety of overhanging structure, logs, reefs or bommies.

Cast close to the structure because that's where jacks will be. Let the fly sink and strip it back with short sharp strokes ... bounce, bounce. If you don't get a strike, lift the fly and re-cast. Jacks don't really like to venture too far from the protection of the structure they call home.

Target Mangrove Jack in the following locations:

Target Mangrove Jack with the following guides:

Australian Flyfishing Outfitters

Barra Lodge Arnhemland

Carpentaria Seafaris

Exmouth Fly Fishing

Fish Philliskirk

Mark Bargenquast

Melville Island Lodge

One Tree Beach

Paul Dolan

Wilderness Island
Links to more information

http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/28_15011.htm http://www.fishbase.org/summary/speciessummary.php?id=1407
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