Crevalle Jack Fishing Basics

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Crevalle Jack | DestinationsBasics | Baits | Rigs & Techniques
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Jack Crevalle can be found inshore and offshore.  Most anglers target these fish inshore near docks, bridges, in bays, rivers and tidal creeks.  Jacks prefer some type of structure or cover such as docks, seawalls and pilings.

How to Catch Jack Crevalle

You can catch them on almost all natural baits whether they are dead or alive, but the bigger fish like fresh, live bait.  They can be found in coastal rivers, near major inlets and on deep reefs and wrecks offshore.  Most of your bigger jack crevalle will come out of the deeper offshore reefs and wrecks, but there are plenty of big jack crevalle swimming in shallower water as well.  When these fish are aggressive, you can easily catch them with jigs, spoons, swimbaits and topwater lures.  Fishing for jack crevalle with topwater lures provides some of the most exciting strikes that you will find fishing inshore waters.

Recommended Tackle

Inshore, you can usually get away with 15 to 20 pound test line depending on the size of the fish you are catching.  Most anglers will use a 20 to 30 pound leader as well.  If you are targeting bigger jacks, you can easily go up to the 20 to 30 pound range and even heavier if you’re targeting some of the big fish offshore.  At times, you may be catching 2 to 4 pounders and you may be doing fine with lighter gear, but when you get a big fish on, you’re going to be happy you went with the heavier stuff.  Medium to heavy action spinning rods and baitcasters will work well.

Eating Jack Crevalle

Jack Crevalle have a poor taste.  They are known as a sport fish and most anglers release them immediately or use them for bait.

How the Tides Affect Jack Crevalle

The tides usually don’t play that big of a role in the fishing offshore, but inshore, the tides dictate where, when and how these fish will be feeding.  Tidal changes provide the best fishing opportunities inshore.  Whether you fish the high tide or low tide, moving water is key to finding active fish.

On a low tide, many of the shallow areas that were good during the high tide are usually much less productive.  Shallow water near mangroves, docks and on the flats may not have enough water for jack crevalle during the low tides.  When the water is low, try fishing the holes and channels that offer some deeper water near these shallow water hot spots.  Most of the time, jacks will move out of the shallows into these nearby channels as water levels recede.  If the deeper channels near shallow water don’t produce, try fishing some of the deeper water docks, bridges and bays.  These areas will hold plenty of water during the low tides and jacks can often be found in these spots feeding on bait fish.

During a high tide, jack crevalle can be found in so many different areas.  Mangrove-lined shorelines, canals, tidal creeks, flats and rivers can all hold good numbers of fish.  Jacks will usually be found near some type of cover when they move into these shallow water areas, so try targeting the docks, mangroves, seawalls and any other types of cover that look like they may hold some fish.

Inshore Fishing for Jack Crevalle

Jack Crevalle are one of the most fun fish to target inshore.  If they were a good-tasting fish, they would be one of the most popular fish inshore because they are very aggressive, they eat a variety of different baits and they put up an excellent fight.  Even though many anglers do not specifically target these fish, there are tons of anglers out there that enjoy catching jack crevalle.

Some of the best places to target jack crevalle inshore are around bridges, docks, seawalls and piers.  If there are bait fish, there’s a good chance some jack crevalle can be found in the area.  These fish love to school up and ambush bait fish by pushing them up to the surface or pinning them against a wall.  When you see them feeding on top, try throwing any topwater lure that resembles a bait fish and you should catch some jack crevalle.  If they are lower in the water column, jigs and live bait will produce some good results.

Offshore Fishing for Jack Crevalle

Jack Crevalle can be found offshore.  You can usually find some jacks hanging around reefs, wrecks, rock piles and ledges.  The average jack crevalle caught offshore is usually much bigger than what you will catch inshore.  Live bait rigs, cut bait, jigs and jigging spoons are all productive baits for targeting these fish offshore.  Heavy tackle is a must around the reefs and wrecks.  The big jacks can weigh anywhere from 20 to 60 pounds and they run like crazy once you set the hook on them.

Using Jack Crevalle as Bait

Jack Crevalle are used as bait for many different types of fish.  As cut bait, you can target most species of saltwater fish that can be caught on cut bait.  Fished alive, jack crevalle are great baits for huge goliath grouper and sharks.

Topwater Fishing for Jack Crevalle

Jack Crevalle are some of the most fun fish to catch in saltwater with topwater lures.  Jacks can often be seen busting the surface as they school up and ambush bait fish.  This can happen anywhere inshore, so make sure you have a rod ready if you’d like to experience some of this fast action fishing.  Most topwater lures will work for this kind of fishing and at times, you won’t be able to wind the lure in fast enough.  When they are busting bait fish on the surface, they are very aggressive and they will attack anything that resembles a bait fish trying to get away.


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