The jack crevalle, a saltwater gamefish species, is also known as jack, hardtail, or crevalle jack. No matter the name, they are popular among anglers because of the drag-pulling battles when the fish is hooked. The fish is widely distributed; therefore, they are caught up and down the east coast of the United States, including North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Here is what you need to know about the jack crevalle. 

What Kind Of Fish Is A Jack Crevalle

The hardtail is a member of the jack family. It is reported that there are over 150 species within the family of jacks. Some call the fish other names which include jack ravel, saltwater jack, and crevalle jack.

Interestingly enough, despite the significant number of species, the jack is one of the most highly sought after. A close runner-up is the greater amberjack but the greater amberjack is grows much larger in size.

How Do You Identify A Jack Crevalle

The crevalle jack is easily identifiable. Jacks are marked with a black spot on the rear tip of the gill plate behind the blunt head. 

Crevalle is equipped with a deeply forked tail that powers it through the water. The bodies are compressed and range from silver to yellow, depending on the habitat. 

Is A Jack Crevalle A Tuna

No, the crevalle jack has no affiliation to the family of tunas. Tunas are strictly offshore gamefish when compared to jacks who venture inshore and offshore. 

In addition to the difference in where the jack crevalle fish is found compared to tuna, tuna are highly sought after for the delicious fillets they yield. On the other hand, crevalle jack is not considered good to eat.

How Big Do Crevalle Jack Get

The hardtail grows massive in size. Small hardtails congregate in large schools while fully grown jacks swim in pairs.

Anglers catch jack ranging between a couple of pounds up to and above fifty. Tackle size and strength varies significantly based on the size of fish targeted. However, when targeting crevalle, it is essential to expect to plan for big fish because it is not uncommon to run into jacks in the twenty to thirty-pound range.

What Is The Range Of A Jack Crevalle

The jack is widely distributed across the east coast. Anglers encounter the fish between Cape Cod, Massachusets, and throughout Florida. However, the most prolific population is between Florida and Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. 

Is Jack Crevalle Good To Eat

When asked, are jack crevalle good to eat, it is important to know that jack, unfortunately, is not known for their table fare. The flesh of filleted jacks is dark. The dark coloration is blood which causes a foul fishy taste. Anglers are best suited to practice catch and release when a jack is landed. 

What Is The Habitate Of A Crevalle Jack

Interestingly enough, the jack is found in both inshore and offshore water. Equally as interesting is the fact that some of the largest are caught within inlets. 


To locate hardtails offshore, focus your attention on reefs and wrecks. Jacks cluster together suspended above underwater structures. Avoid dropping baits to the bottom because they more readily strike baits in the middle of the water column.

In addition to anchoring or drifting for jack ravel, don’t hesitate to troll. Some of the best jack crevalle lures include topwater poppers, deep diving plugs, and stick baits. In addition to trolling, the lures can be cast when jacks are located by sight.


 When targeting jacks inshore, the schools are widely dispersed because they congregate and chase schools of mullet when feeding. Keep an eye out for bait showering the surface. More than likely, jacks are causing the disturbance when they are ferociously consuming fish. 

Are Jack Crevalle Good Fighting Fish

Hardtails are bruisers when hooked. Be prepared for a heavy-weight battle. The species possesses both strength and stamina. 

The fish use their body contour to their advantage. Jacks create exceptional resistance by remaining in a sideways position, thus creating more work for the angler. 

Expect long runs followed by the fish circling beneath the surface, using its strength to its advantage. 

How Do You Catch Jack Crevalle

We have had the opportunity to catch boatloads of jacks. The size of the tackle varies significantly based on the size of the fish targeted. Utilize light action spinning gear for small jack and heavy spinning combination for large fish. 

The smallest crevalle readily dines on small lures, baitfish, jigs, and more. On the opposite side of the size spectrum, troll or cast large plugs with a quick retrieval rate which produce an exceptional amount of noise. Additionally, big live baits are equally as effective. 

Is Jack Crevalle Good To Eat

We do not recommend eating the fillets of jack fish. The fillets are dark and contain a significant amount of veins. However, when deciding to eat jack crevalle, they are best bled out when caught and properly cleaned by removing the darkest red sections that are unappetizing.

Rather than keeping jack we highly recommend catch and release. Jacks are best known for the fight compared to the quality of the fillets.

Are You Ready To Target Crevalle Jack

One of the most hard-hitting and fighting fish is the jack. The jack is caught both inshore and offshore, making them an easy target. Multiple bait presentations result in strikes. The only drawback is their lack of edibility. Release all hardtails when caught. Remember to obtain a saltwater fishing license before casting or trolling for jak crevalle.