Jack Crevalle Fishing

Jack Crevalle Fishing

Jack Crevalle

Jack Crevalle
  • Size 15 to 25lbs
  • Food Value Low
  • Game Qualities Excellent
  • Habitats River, Inshore, Nearshore, Offshore, Reef, Flats, Backcountry, Wreck

(Caranx hippos)

As their latin name suggests, Jack Crevalles might be thought of as marine horses. Available to target in oceanic, estuarine and riverine waters, these fish pack a punch, with an attitude on top.

Jack Crevalles are voracious eaters, nonselectively killing anything smaller than themselves if it's in the way. They're true bullies of the seas, often known to chase small fish onto beaches or against sea walls or, if in the open ocean, gang up on them and herd them into a ball before striking from all sides. They are superb light tackle game fish, sure to show you what sport fishing is all about.

They move in large schools and tolerate a wide variety of temperatures, salinity levels and water depths, and so can be found around offshore reefs more than 300ft deep (this is where the big ones are), along the continental shelf, in coastal waters, over shallow flats, at river mouths and even in intra-coastal waterways.

How big

JCs can grow up to 4ft and 60lbs. Similar size fish between 15 and 25lbs are an average catch if you target schools, but if you time it right and know where to go, 30-40 pounders will be a normal occurrence. They put up a much stronger fight than their size would predict.

These are the big ones we're talking about. Great catch out of West Palm Beach, FL

When & Where

Crevalles are spread out throughout the coastal waters of the western Atlantic, from Nova Scotia to Uruguay, including the Gulf of Mexico, especially along the west coast of Florida and the coast of Texas. Sometimes they'll be present around the West Indies islands. The eastern Atlantic coasts host them from Portugal to Angola and within the western Mediterranean Sea.

JCs are highly migrational, with the general path taking them further inshore with the dropping temperatures. On the Atlantic coast, you can find them off Palm Beach during winter, off Stuart and Ft Pierce through spring and from Sebastian Inlet to Cape Canaveral during summer. A number of Jacks will go farther up north during the summer, reaching as far as Georgia. On the Gulf coast, they can be caught year-round in southwest Florida and then farther up north and northwest in all bays up to the Panhandle during late spring, summer and early fall. The Keys dominate all fisheries with trophy size JCs in the flats year-round.

How to catch

JCs are omnivores that will eat what's in their way even if they're not hungry - just because they can. That said, they can sometimes be fussy and not take any bait whatsoever.

They love the chase, so slow or, in any way unnaturally moving, bait will not be interesting to them. This is why it's important to cast the bait over and not too close to the school, but to retreive it rapidly and continuously. If they're found in deeper water, quick and aggressive jigs will be effective, and if they're near the surface, sight casting with topwater plugs will be perfect.

Any small fish will do for bait, menhadens being very effective anywhere in Florida. JCs are also among the most cooperative fish to target on artificials. Once boated, handle with gloves, as they are very slimy.

Crevalles will bend your rod like no other fish of similar size. Landed in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Good to eat?

Edible, but not very valued for their meat. Smaller fish will taste better and bleeding them will improve the taste. Noted rare cases of ciguatera (fish poisoning) for larger fish.


Season - always open;
Size limit - none;
Bag limit (per angler per day) - none; recommended catch and release, as they're only good for the fight;

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