The Jack Crevalle, also known as the common jack, black-tailed trevally, crevalle jack and yellow cavalli, is one of the most underrated game fish in the sea. It can grow over 3 feet long and weigh as much as 65 pounds. It will readily attack most lures, flies, and baits you can throw at it.
One of the more fun ways to catch jacks is with a surface lure or popper. The jacks will group together and aggressively feed on a ball of bait. They can usually be found under diving birds, and will actively smash any topwater plug you have in the boat. For many fishermen, watching “the eat” can be more entertaining than actually catching a fish, and the jack crevalle does not disappoint.
Jacks are not good eating, which may be why they are historically so poorly regarded as a gamefish. However, alongside of the rise of sport fishing and catch and release, fishing for jack crevalle is becoming a more widely regarded endeavor. For a catch and release fisherman, they are the perfect combination of an aggressive predator and a strong fighter. Strangely, when the fish is removed from water, it will sometimes make snorting sound very similar to that of a pig.
Years of scientific study on the jack crevalle have concluded that their dietary habits are indiscriminate, meaning they’ll eat whatever, whenever – good news for fly fishermen!
In more good news, jacks are widely distributed, ranging from the Gulf of Mexico to as far north as Nova Scotia. They can also be found off the west coast of Africa and in the Mediterranean Sea.
Many anglers affectionately call the jack crevalle the “poor man’s Giant Trevally”, as it is shares many similar qualities to the GT in both appearance and behavior but doesn’t require traveling halfway around the world to catch one. Others call it the “Cajun Permit” for similar reasons. Whatever you want to call it, it’s a hell of a fish to pursue!
Want to catch a Jack Crevalle? Check out Capt. Paul Lappin on Amberjack