Jack crevalle fishing, proven techniques
Jack Crevalle fishing, tips and techniques
This blog post will focus on our fishing ladies jack crevalle fishing. Jacks are an aggressive, hard fighting fish species. They are widely distributed throughout the world, including the Caribbean, Coast of Gulf of Mexico, and up the eastern seaboard to the mid Atlantic.
Jack crevalle are very powerful, using their broad bodies and large Fort tales to put up a terrific fight. They are generally found in fairly large schools, and this adds to the aggressiveness. Competition forms within the group to see who can catch and devour the prey. This makes them a fantastic game fish!
Jack crevalle are perfectly suited to anglers who prefer casting lures and flies. While they can certainly be caught on live bait, and many are, they are so aggressive that using lures is a natural choice. Just about any artificial lure will catch jacks. Jigs, spoons, plugs, and flies are all effective.
Jack crevalle seasonal migrations
Here in Florida, jacks do have a seasonal migration pattern. They are generally found in creeks and residential canals in the cooler months. Jacks are a subtropical species and cannot tolerate water temperatures in the mid-50s for very long. The water in these residential canals in creeks can be up to 10° warmer than the exposed open flats. This results in jacks man congregated in a small area, making them much easier to locate.
As it warms up jacks will move out of the creeks and canals and onto the nearby flats. The warming water temperatures will have them in a mood to feed. Often times they will give away their location by feeding aggressively on the surface. Anglers can scan the water surface for feeding fish along with bird activity. At this point it is just a matter of getting a bait in front of them. Any lure fly that even mildly resembles the forage will draw strike.
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Jacks will seek out cooler water in the summer time. This can be deeper flats and 10 feet of water, deeper canals, the passes, in the inshore Gulf of Mexico. Summer is the one time when live bait can be more effective for jacks. The water temperature being warm has them a little less aggressive. Chumming with live bait fish will fire them up and get them in a mood to feed.
Jack crevalle fishing, baits and techniques
One technique that we use here in Sarasota quite often is drifting the deep grass flats. We simply drift over the submerge grass with the wind and tide while casting out lures in search of game fish. Jacks will oftentimes be found in such locations, even when surface activity is not present. As with Jack fishing everywhere, they usually school up and are quite aggressive.
The jig and grub combo is a great all round saltwater bait. It is a great choice when targeting jack crevalle, and really any other inshore species. A quarter ounce jig head with a 3 inch Shad tail trailer is a good all-around combo. Color doesn’t matter that much, though when possible it is best to match the clarity of the water. Light-colored baits work best in clear water while darker colored baits work better and water that is stained.
Fishing for Jack Crevalle with artificial lures
Anglers casting plugs enjoy some terrific light tackle action on jack crevalle. They will draw some ferocious strikes! Top water plugs are fun and exciting, however shallow diving plugs are generally more productive. Anglers can blind cast likely looking spots such as mangrove shorelines, seawalls, docks, and other structure. Casting plugs into breaking fish is obviously great fun. Two drawbacks to using plugs are the initial cost and having to deal with a pair of treble hooks. Some manufacturers are now offering plugs with a pair of single hooks.
Spoons are very effective lures for jack crevalle as well. They cast the mile, can be worked back aggressively, and closely mimic most bait fish that are in the water. They are reasonably priced and anglers can easily replace the trouble hook with a single J hook.
Fly anglers will do well with any bait fish imitations. In all white or chartreuse over white clouds or minnow on a number one hook is a great all round choice. One of the few times that jacks can be fussy is when they are feeding on tiny glass minnows. This is a circumstance where the fly fisherman can shine, as it is easier to match the hats with a small fly than it is with a heavy artificial lure.
Tackle for jack crevalle
The tackle an angler uses when targeting jack crevalle depends on the size of the jacks that may be encountered. After all, the world record is 66 pounds! In Sarasota where I fish, most jacks are in the to to 5 pound range with the occasional fish reaching 10 pounds. For this fishing, the same light to medium spinning tackle that is used for snook and redfish and other species works fine. A 30 pound to 40 pound piece of fluorocarbon leader is used between the running line and the lure.
Anglers who fish on the East Coast of Florida may need to beef the tackle up a bit. The inlets and residential canals there as well as the open bays hold some very large jack crevalle. Light conventional tackle may be a better choice, especially when fishing around docs, bridges, and other structure.
The same decision holds true for fly anglers. While an eight weight outfit is perfect for the Sarasota area, anglers on the East Coast or in the Caribbean might be better off with a 10 weight outfit. With either selection an intermediate sink tip line is the best all round choice. An 8 foot to 10 foot paper leader with a 30 pound bite tippet finishes off the rig.
As a fishing guide in Sarasota, I’m on the water around 200 days a year. Rarely do I actually target Jack Gravelle. In most instances they are a happy interruption to our snook fishing attempts. I treat them as a target of opportunity, never turning down a chance when I see a school of jacks foraging on the surface.
Winter time jack crevalle fishing
The one time I do target jacks is in the creeks and rivers in the wintertime. Starting around late October depending on the year, jacks will begin their migration up into the creeks, rivers, and canals. For whatever reason, they tend to do less feeding on the surface in these areas. Blind casting with plugs such as the #8 Rapala X-Rap will allow anglers to cover a lot of water quickly and find the jacks of their in the area. In most instances, finding jacks is equal to catching them.
This is a great opportunity for novice anglers to catch a large fish on fly. Short easy casts are the norm in jacks are generally not fussy about presentation. A 5 pound Jack puts up a terrific fight on a seven weight or eight weight fly rod.
One winter fishing technique that produces snook, redfish, and other species is to free line a large live shrimp under docks and bridges in the winter time. This will also produce jack crevalle, some of them quite large. Make sure that tackle is stout if you want to tangle with one!
It disappoints me to hear jack crevalle called trash fish or an undesirable species. Pound for pound, very few game fish strike as violently or pull as hard as do jacks. There is no need to disparage them just because they aren’t as desirable table fair as some other species. Instead, appreciate them for what they are, one of the hardest fighting fish in the sea! More info on jack crevalle.
In conclusion, this article on jack crevalle fishing will help anglers catch more of these hard-fighting fish.