Occurs throughout Florida and the Bahamas. Juveniles to around pounds frequent mangrove creeks and bays of Southwest Florida, especially the Ten Thousand Islands and Everglades National Park. Adults can be found at a variety of depths, from holes and channels of coastal waters out to offshore ledges and reefs; also around pilings of bridges and under deepwater docks and piers.
The Crevalle may show up at any time in virtually all Florida waters, from the deep reefs to well up coastal rivers.
Usually runs in schools and the smaller the individual fish, the larger the school. The biggest Jacks often cruise in pairs and are usually found in or near major inlets and around offshore wrecks and reefs of both coasts, but may come into deep bays and canals where they chase Mullet and often herd the prey against seawalls.
Blunt head with black spot on rear edge of gill cover. Hard scutes forward of sickle-shaped tail. Color usually yellowish with white undersides.
Common at 1 pound or less to about 5 or 6 pounds.
Plentiful up to 12 pounds in most areas. Sometimes tops 20 pounds and can reach 50 pounds or even more. World and Florida records 57 pounds. Poor by most tastes. Most of the meat is dark red and of strong flavor. Few fish can out-pull a Crevalle of equal size. The fight is unspectacular but dogged, the usual pattern being a long first run.
Jacks use their flat sides to good advantage when waging a tug-o-war. Most Jacks are fairly small and are caught on the full range of light tackle by anglers seeking other game. If you target larger Jacks, say 10 pounds or more, sturdy spinning, baitcasting and fly tackle should be used, with lines no less than 8-pound test.
Small Jacks, such as those frequently encountered on shallow flats, will gulp down almost any sort of natural bait, live or dead, as well as all the popular casting and flyrod lures. Big Crevalles, however, generally like their meals moving very fast. To assure hookups, you have to use fresh and frisky live fish, or retrieve your artificial lures rapidly, noisily, or both.
Topwater plugs are good, as are fast-whipped jigs.
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