Jack crevalle are a fantastic sport fish that are widely abundant in various parts of Florida, but if you are wondering are Jack Crevalle good to eat, you might be a bit disappointed.
While Jack fish are definitely edible, it’s generally not considered a highly desirable or preferred fish for consumption due to its taste and texture. Jack Crevalle are strong and muscular fish, which can result in its flesh having a pronounced fishy flavor and a coarse texture.
If you are interested in eating Jack Crevalle you will want to make sure you bleed it out immediately, clean and fillet it, cut out the blood lines, and consume it as soon as possible. Some people enjoy marinating the fillets or cooking them with strong seasonings to help mask the strong taste.
Let’s explore some additional details about this amazing game fish.
How to Clean a Jack Crevalle Fish for Eating
I absolutely love catching Jack fish. They put up a massive fight and in our trips to the Florida Keys, we have found them abundant. Here was a double hook-up of Jacks my boys caught on a prior trip to Marathon, FL.
Yes, eating jack crevalle is possible. In fact, that’s not even the point of contention here. The biggest question is whether or not you’ll actually enjoy it. We’ve tried it a few times “fresh off the boat” and my family finds it edible if we clean it properly and then deep fry it. Consult our guide on how many pound you will need to feed your family.
Here are a few tips that could help unlock the flavor of this fish and make it an enjoyable meal.
- Bleed out the fish immediately. This will make the jackfish edible. Remember that jack crevalle are some of the fastest swimmers in the world. In order to maintain this high performance underwater, they will pump blood all over their body at very fast speeds. Read on for details on how to bleed them properly.
- Keep the fish fresh. Ensure the jack crevalle is stored in a lot of ice once the fish has completely bled out. The colder we kept the fish, the less fishy they tasted.
- Remove the fish’s bloodline. This is a redish area that is found around the loin area. We know that there are some people who actually enjoy eating it but if you are looking for a more mild flavor, the the bloodline has a very gamey taste which may not go well for some people.
How to Bleed and Prep a Jack Crevalle Fish?
Jack fish are incredibly fast and fun to catch. Unlike many of their fresh water cousins, their sporty bodies contain a lot of blood. Removing the blood from the meat will help reduce the gamey flavors and make it a bit more palatable for the average fish consumer.
To bleed out a jack fish:
- Dispatch the fish. If the fish is still alive, subdue it quickly and humanely. You can use a fish billy or a blunt object to deliver a swift and accurate blow to the head, ensuring it is unconscious.
- Prepare a bleeding area. Find a suitable area to bleed the fish. There can be a reasonable amount of blood so pick a spot that will be easy to clean. This is typically done overboard while the fish is still in the water. Ensure that the area is clear and there are no obstructions that could interfere with the process.
- Cut the gills. With a sharp knife, make a deep cut on both sides of the fish’s throat, just below the gills. This cut severs the major blood vessels, allowing the fish to bleed out quickly.
- Bleed the fish. Hold the fish over the side of the boat or in the water, allowing the blood to flow out of the cut gills. You can gently massage the fish’s body to help the blood flow more efficiently.
- Keep the fish cool. After bleeding, it’s essential to keep the fish cool to preserve its quality. If you plan to keep the fish, place it on ice or in a cooler with ice to slow down any spoilage.
Remember, proper bleeding of the fish is not only essential for maintaining the fish’s quality for consumption but also considered a humane practice. Bleeding the fish promptly after catch helps to reduce stress and ensures the best possible taste and texture when preparing it for a meal.
How to fillet a Jack Crevalle
Once the fish is bled out fully, you will want to remove the fillets on either side of the body from the rest of the carcass.
Note: Before you start, ensure you have a good-quality fillet knife with a flexible, sharp blade, and practice safe knife handling techniques.
- Preparation. Rinse the jack fish under cold water to remove any excess slime and debris. Place the fish on a clean cutting board with its belly facing up.
- Make the First Cut. Starting behind the gills, make a diagonal cut down towards the top of the fish’s spine, just above the dorsal fin. This cut should run along the length of the fish, stopping before the tail.
- Open the Belly. With the initial cut made, turn the fish on its side and gently pry open the belly by placing your thumb or fingers inside the cut. Use your fillet knife to carefully separate the flesh from the ribs as you work towards the tail.
- Remove the Rib Cage. Once the belly is opened, use the fillet knife to cut along the rib cage, separating the flesh from the bones. Take your time and use short, smooth strokes to maintain as much flesh as possible.
- Work Towards the Tail. Continue filleting the fish along its backbone, moving towards the tail. Keep the knife blade angled slightly downward to avoid cutting through the skin.
- Complete the Fillet. Once you’ve reached the tail, carefully detach the fillet from the tail section by cutting through the small, thin bones connecting them.
- Repeat on the Other Side. Flip the fish over and repeat the process on the other side to obtain the second fillet.
- Skinning the Fillets (optional). Some people prefer to remove the skin from the fillets. To do this, lay the fillet skin-side down on the cutting board, hold the tail end firmly, and carefully slide the knife blade between the flesh and skin, using a back-and-forth motion.
Now you have two boneless jack fish fillets ready for cooking or further preparation. Remember to always dispose of fish waste responsibly and clean your equipment thoroughly after filleting.
We may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you when you buy through links on our website.
Learn more about our Amazon affiliate program
What Does Jack Crevalle Look Like?
Jacks are one of my favority sport fish. Identifying them is pretty easy really. The are quite different from the other fish in their habitats. Here is an image where you can see 3 Jack Fish swimming with a sting ray.
When it comes to color, jack crevalle actually come in huge varieties. The fish can either be blue or light silver but they tend to have sheens that color differently.
Typically, the fish will also have a dark dorsal fin while the rest of the fins will maintain a light-yellow color. The belly is also yellowish.
If you want to fish crevalle, you’ll find them from spring to fall in Florida.
They are generally migratory fish but during these periods, you can catch them from the shore using a surf fishing rod or reel. Once the winter season kicks in, the fish will move back to the deep waters in the south.
When fully matured, jack crevalle will be about 4 feet long. The weight will vary though but the fish hit a maximum of about 70 pounds. The variation in weight is actually very huge. My family has caught ranges from 2-3 pounds up to about 15 pounds fairly regularly.
So, it really depends on the ecosystem and the nature of the food chain available. Despite this, regardless of the size, crevalle are known to be very aggressive.
Jack crevalle are predatory in nature so they will feed on a wide range of small fish. It’s, however, believed that the crevalle develop a taste for specific fish and would target them in their hunt for their entire lifespan.
For example, if the crevalle starts off eating mullet from a young age, they will maintain that diet for as long as possible. Nevertheless, crevalle are also known to prey on crustaceans, squid, and other small fishes in the water.
Jack crevalle aren’t really picky when it comes to their habitat. As long as there’s warm water somewhere, they will easily fit right in. The fish don’t have any preferences when it comes to water depth.
You can find them either in shallow or deep water. Nonetheless, the fish will typically hide out in large numbers around rocky structures.
However, since the fish prey on baitfish, expect them to make an appearance on sandy waters every now and then. For these reasons, jack crevalle should be quite easy to find.
Why Target a Jack Crevalle?
There’s nothing more exciting than saltwater fishing. It’s the main reason why over and over again anglers will head to the open sea to try to catch a wide range of saltwater fish. Nonetheless, one thing that you can be sure about jack crevalle is the fact that it’s not that easy to catch.
And as many anglers will tell you, if you’re not careful the fish will easily damage your gear as it fights to get free. There are also certain things that you need to know as you head out fishing for jack crevalle. First, big fish shouldn’t be eaten.
If you catch a big one, treat it nicely, take some pictures if you want, and then release it back into the water. Smaller catches, on the other hand, can be eaten and the recipe we have given above should come in handy.
And finally, make sure you always have the right gear with you. As noted above you won’t find a more stubborn fish than jack crevalle. Think of it as catching a mackerel only that the crevalle are more stubborn and fast.
So, if you head into the sea with substandard gear, it will end in disappointment. Learn to respect the sea and the fish that it brings as well. This is the true mark of any good fisherman.
It’s always fun and exciting to go out fishing but there are certain fish species that will give you one hell of a fight. Jack crevalle is one of them but there will always be the question are jack crevalle good to eat?
After all, if you will be spending time trying to catch this saltwater beauty, then it’s only fair if you get to taste its meat. As we have explained above, eating jack crevalle is possible.