If you’re interested in pursuing a fish that’s fun and challenging to catch, you should learn how to catch jack crevalle. These fish, also commonly referred to as common jacks, are well-known among sport anglers for being some of the hardest fighting inshore species. They provide lots of excitement whenever they’re hooked.
If you want to know more about jack crevalle fishing and increase your odds of catching these popular and elusive creatures, read on!
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Jack Crevalle Fishing Tips
Jack crevalle fish are predatory species that are on the constant hunt for prey. If there are baitfish around, you’ll undoubtedly spot the common jack.
As they’re aggressive predators, you need some fishing tips to hook massive ones while ensuring your safety. Keep these in mind!
Keep the Lure Moving
Use a topwater lure that you can quickly retrieve along a water column. To locate the fish, sight fishing is usually done but you can also scan the water for specific areas where baitfish congregate and are being hunted actively.
As we’ve established earlier, jack crevalle are aggressive, so it’s essential that you lure moves at higher speeds around 5 to 6 knots.
It’s incredibly important that you ensure your lure is moving fast as jack may lose interest in it otherwise. When you’re using the topwater lure, slightly alter your technique of retrieving it.
You would want the retrieval of the lure to be aggressive with its popping action. Expert anglers would also suggest beginners to vary speeds until what works best has been determined.
Know Where to Locate Them
Common jacks like to stay closer to the beach. They’re abundant on Florida’s coastlines and their numbers are only increasing each year, particularly in the southwest part of Florida. They are very fast in the water and they migrate in large schools.
As they prefer staying in shallow water, you’ll often find them feeding around bridges, mangroves, docks, and oyster bars that are less than 20 ft deep.
Fish When They Are Most Active
Fishing for jack crevalle is different from jigging to catch other species of fish as they will only bite at certain times. They move into or out of areas that are around structures, so you would have to be attempting to catch them at the right place and time.
From December to February, common jacks are more active around creek channel bends, deep ledges, and grass lines. The key to catching the fish during such time would be to find them at the cruising depth, ranging from 30-40 ft.
In early spring which is when water temperatures start warming up, the fish start to move into shallow flats. They are often behind schools of baitfish. You can try catching them on spoons, topwater plugs, or small crankbaits when you’re working edges of grass lines, as well as drop-offs surrounding shallow flats.
By early May, jacks can be sighted within flats and they’ll continue being there throughout the spring. If you prefer fishing for them in winter, it is possible but they are most likely suspended. They’ll be deeper into the water, but you can still try in current breaks and areas where there are changes in the bottom depth.
Bring the Fishing Gear Essentials
You’ll be more successful in learning how to catch jack crevalle if you have the right tackle.
You need the following if you want to go after these challenging fish:
- Rod: A 7 ft medium heavy rod is a great option for fishing jack crevalle. The medium-heavy rod is essential in fighting such aggressive fish and the length is perfect for making long casts.
- Reel: Fishing for this particular species is casting-intensive. This means you need a reel that has a higher gear ratio i.e. 7.1:1 through 8.1:1. Topwater, plastics, jerk baits, and lipless crankbaits all warrant the usage of high-speed reels. You’ll be able to create lots of slack in the fishing line. Additionally, when you get a strike 30 yards from your boat, the reel with a higher gear ratio will allow you to get a solid hookset.
- Fishing Line: When you’re learning how to catch jack fish, it’s one of the most casting-intensive endeavors. This means you need a braid line that’s specifically for longer casting distances. You would also need a leader. The leader size may vary, depending on how massive the jacks are in the water you’re fishing. On average, 30 to 40 lb. fluorocarbon leader is what most anglers use when fishing for jack crevalle.
- Hook: A great size for you to start is 4/0 for circle hooks, especially if you’ll be casting live bait.
Find ‘Nervous Water’
“Nervous water” is what seasoned anglers watch out for when targeting the fish. You’ll learn how to catch jack crevalle more quickly if you fish water that’s vibrating from the surface.
The vibration is typically due to a school of baitfish getting forced to go towards the surface as there are predatory fish below.
There’s such thing as a “jack attack,” which anglers use as a term for when lots of jack crevalle fish are on a feeding frenzy. Several of the fish also start busting out of the water dramatically as they’re preying on baitfish.
After you’ve learned how to catch jack crevalle and you’ve landed your first one, it’s important that you also know how to bleed a jack crevalle. Bleed the fish as soon as you catch it to ensure it stays fresh.
Start by severing the fish’s main artery which is behind its gills. To remove more blood, you can pressure-bleed the fish which helps force out blood from smaller veins. Don’t forget to ice it and give it ample time to bleed.
The majority of anglers don’t like eating the fish because it’s bony and results in smaller fillets. Should you decide to prepare your catch, it’s best you bleed it out immediately and fully to ensure it tastes better.