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In this article we catch up with Texas-based RAILBLAZA Pro Staffer, Chris Castro to hear about a fish that’s got him fired up right now as he comes out of winter and starts hitting the offshore waters for some action.
Down south we jokingly call them wannabe GT’s but don’t let that fool you. Few fish pound for pound can pull as hard, but more importantly, these are the fish that set the tone for the Texas coast.
NEAR SHORE JACKS
Towards the end of March heading into April, we begin to see water temperatures warm up. For about a month, jack crevalle will go from top of the food chain to around middle of the pack as they swim north early spring to summer. What’s fantastic about this time of year is how close they get. It’s not uncommon to find fly fisherman in the surf having to turn around and cast back towards the sand. For a kayak angler this translates into a short paddle for a good game of tug-of-war. The problem is picking your battles; too close and you’ll find yourself fighting a fish towards crashing surf. The jetties can also produce shallow runners, but kayak anglers must separate themselves away from bouldering rocks to stay out of harm’s way.
If you’re one of those anglers that always need to be reminded to slow things down, then jack crevalle are right up your ally. Through my experience, the bigger they are, the friskier they get. They like their meals moving very fast, and one of the biggest problems anglers have is not getting that hook set. If you are not using a lively bait, then you better be sure to retrieve your artificial lures rapidly, noisily or both. Big topwater plugs are a favorite of mine that can produce fantastic acrobatics. Fast whipping jigs can also trigger big schools of jack crevalle. Just remember these four letters, F A S T. Now, of course, you can still catch jack crevalle by other means such as trolling, drifting, or still fishing. Just remember that these fish are coming near shore this time of year for a reason. They are following the food chain and they are hungry.
One important thing to remember is the food value. We don’t hunt this species down because it’s delicious, it’s really quite the opposite. Its quality is poor by most standards, and the majority of the meat is dark red and strong flavored. While some target them for shark bait, the majority of us just want to battle! When a jack crevalle gets vertical on you, it is without a doubt one of the hardest fights pound per pound. Expect these fish to take a strong first run before utilizing their body in the most unusual way. It’s almost as if they know how to maximize their own physics by plating over to wage max effort in a tug-o-war.
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