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Mangrove red snapper

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Commonly called Mangrove Jack within Australia, the Mangrove red snapper (Lutjanus argentimaculatus) is an explosive and powerful sport fish that is renowned for its superb eating and fighting qualities.

Lutjanus argentimaculatus is found in the Indo-Pacific region from Australia in the south to Japan in the north, and as far west as the eastern coast of Africa.[2] Distribution within Australia is largely centered on the northern half of Australia, spreading from northern New South Wales into northern Western Australia.

As its name implies, the Mangrove Jack is commonly found in mangrove-lined estuarine systems although is known to migrate to offshore reefs in order to spawn. As ambush predators, `Jacks’ often dwell around mangrove roots, fallen trees, rock walls, and any other snag areas where smaller prey reside for protection. For fishermen, the telltale sign of a hooked Mangrove Jack is the explosive run for cover once the bait (or lure) is taken. Many fish (and again, lures) are lost once they reach the protection of the snags as a result of their initial burst of speed. As they mature, Mangrove Jacks move into open waters, sometimes hundreds of kilometers from the coast[3] in order to breed. These larger fish are sometimes caught by bottom-fishers with heavy tackle, though they still remain difficult to land due to their speed and proximity to sharp reef bottoms.

The Mangrove Jack is a highly regarded table fish with firm, sweet tasting, white flesh. While often a nuisance species when targeting the infamous Barramundi, many fisherman rate the eating qualities of the Jack higher than its more famous neighbour. In reef areas, Mangrove Jack are sometimes confused with red bass (Lutjanus bohar), a known carrier of Ciguatera toxin. They are however easily distinguishable by the large deep pit in front of the eyes of the red bass.