deeply forked tails broke the surface 60 feet off the bow. " One o'clock John, see
them? " I inquired, perched on the poling platform of my 20 foot skiff. He had, and
made a deliberate, and accurate, cast, a few feet in front of the fish.
jig settled to the bottom, and John twitched it once. It never hit the bottom a second
time, as the line came tight, and the battle was on! 8 pound line melted from the spinning
reel, as the fish made a blistering run across the flat. Poling madly, trying to avoid
crab trap floats, I chased the fish into deeper water, where we could finish the fight
safely. Half an hour later, I lifted the 12 pound fish, removed the lure from the corner
of his mouth, snapped a quick photo, and released him back into the water.
Bonefishing in the Bahamas? Permit in the Keys? Neither, although
we were in Florida, in Sarasota Bay. No, the fish was a jack crevalle, a tough
streetbrawler of a fish, broad and powerful, and great sport on spin or fly. Usually, the
only trick to catching jacks is finding them.
It was easy in his case, as huge
schools of ravenous fish were turning the water into a froth as they fed on
baitfish. They were all over this shallow bar, and readily ate whatever we threw at them.
A stealthy approach, using the push pole, or electric trolling motors will get you in
close enough for a cast. Jigs and shrimp accounted for most of the fish, but a couple were
also taken on spoons and topwaters. This is an excellent opportunity for the flycaster, as
the fish do not spook easily, and long casts usually are
not necessary. The
pattern is usually not important, and watching them try to anhilate a popper is very
exciting! We worked the fish for hours, until early afternoon, when they had their fill,
and quit showing for us. Jacks can be dependable, and at other times, difficult to locate.
As with any other sightfishing, patience is required. They may lack the glamour of the
more exotic flats species, but certainly not the heart. Come and experience your own
"jack attack! "
by Jim Klopfer
*Look for Jim's reports in the
CharkByte's section of
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