An Unforgettable Fish Tale

Battling a jack crevalle takes strategy, effort and time.

We were having fun at the nearshore reef, catching bluefish, summer trout and blackfish on light tackle, when all of a sudden the small Fin Nor spinning reel started screaming as line rapidly disappeared off the spool.

It didn’t take but a second to figure out the anchor had to come up — and quick — as the couple hundred yards of braid was almost gone. With the anchor up, we proceeded to chase the fish, angler in the bow, reeling frantically to get line back and to maintain a standing position as we bounced through the waves.

Literally hours passed as the seesaw battle ensued, much to the chagrin of the angler’s companions, as they spent the bulk of their trip watching him battle this huge fish. Finally, after a couple hours, the angler was able to lift the fish near the surface and we could ID the culprit. It was a huge jack crevalle, and he was nowhere near giving up.

The angler groaned as the line disappeared again and the large jack dug in and made another blistering run. We were now in overtime.

We came up with a plan to work the fish back to the surface, at which point we would use a billfish tactic by charging him, using the boat and grabbing the leader. After two unsuccessful attempts, the third time was the charm, and we boated a 37-pound jack crevalle!

Everyone was happy for that battle to be over.

We snapped a few pics and released a slightly tired jack.

The jack crevalle is a fairly common fish in our waters, which is usually plentiful in summer. The big bruisers, usually in the 20- to 40-pound range, are often seen in big schools cruising on the surface. They are quite spooky and fast-moving, so one must be stealthy when sight fishing.

Either live bait or artificials will get the job done. The bait must be placed in front of the school, but far enough to not spook the fish. These schools often swim erratically and fast.

Medium to heavy tackle is recommended for these bulldog battlers…unless you have hours to spare, of course.

By Miles Altman, Bayrunner Fishing Charters

Capt. Miles Altman of Bayrunner Fishing Charters has more than 42 years experience fishing the waters surrounding Hilton Head Island. The Finatic boat, which can accommodate up to 12 passengers, features a special three-hour shark/dolphin eco-tour trip. Contact Miles at 843-290-6955 to book an unforgettable inshore or offshore charter fishing trip, departing from Shelter Cove Marina.