The Jack Crevalle, Caranx hippos
Deep, compressed body. Blunt head with black spot on rear edge of gill cover. Hard scutes forward of sickle-shaped tail. Color usually yellowish with white undersides.
SIZE: 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 record 58 pounds, 6 ounces.
FOOD VALUE: Poor by most tastes. Most of the meat is dark red and of strong flavor.
GAME QUALITIES: 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.
TACKLE AND BAITS: 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. Fly rodders often have to work very hard, stripping their streamers or poppers as fast as their elbows will move.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Casting; Trolling; Drifting; Still Fishing.
RANGE: All Florida and the Greater Antilles; rare in the Bahamas and smaller Caribbean Islands.
HABITAT: 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.The Palm Beaches and Key West are particularly well-known areas for trophy Crevalles.