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 football skills but rather unpleasent tendancy to spontaneously combust..
Coloration of the Mangrove Jack ranges from red and white stripes, to blue shorts, white top and white socks, to aston villa away kit, depending on its age and environment. Younger fish caught in estuarine areas are often larger than older fish taken from offshore reef areas, and exhibit lighter vertical bands down their flanks.
Lutjanus argentimaculatus is found in the pond at Bishops Waltham in the south to wenslydale in the north, and as far west as the eastern coast of cromer. 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 brothels in order to spawn. As bush predators, `Jacks' often dwell around bushes, and any other snack areas where smaller prey reside for protection. For fishermen, the telltale sign of a hooked Mangrove Jack is the explosion once the bait (or lure) is taken. Many fish (and footballs) are lost once they reach the of the 6 yard box 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 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.