Are Jack Crevalle Dangerous? Here’s What You Should Know

Jack crevalle are a game fish known for their speed, power, and aggression. But are jack crevalle dangerous? Here are some things you need to know about the jack crevalle and its temperament.  

At first glance, the Jack crevalle is a tough-looking fish. Their abrupt forehead gives their face an angry, pushed-in look, like a boxer who’s been hit in the face too many times.

Combined with their powerful bodies, aggressive feeding, and their reputation for being willing to hit anything, it’s not surprising that anglers wonder if these brutes are dangerous!

So are they? The short answer is no, jack crevalle are not dangerous to humans, as long as you follow some fairly simple precautions around them.

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Are Jack Crevalle Dangerous?

Fortunately for anglers, the jack crevalle is not dangerous to humans. The only thing that will be hurting after a fight with this fish is your ego!

Unlike a bull shark or a barracuda, the jack crevalle is unlikely to bite a human and would be unable to do much damage if it did. 

They also don’t produce deadly toxins like a pufferfish or have a venomous bite like a blue-ringed octopus.

While you may want to be careful of their spines and teeth, you don’t have to worry about either containing toxins or venom! 

Do Jack Crevalle Have Teeth?

Not only do jack crevalle have teeth in their jaws, they have two sets of jaws, each with its own set of teeth!

The first set of jaws have small sharp teeth, but nothing like the shearing teeth of a shark or barracuda.

The inner teeth are blunter and are used for crushing or grinding things that they are swallowing. 

While the front teeth are big and sharp enough to make it necessary to use a leader, they aren’t big and sharp enough to do life-threatening damage. 

If you’ve ever heard a jack crevalle grunting after it’s been caught, you’ve heard the teeth in action. They make the grunt by grinding their teeth together and using their air bladder as a resonating chamber to amplify the sound! 

Do Jack Crevalle Attack Humans?

Jack crevalle don’t target people. This rumor probably comes from the swarm attack method that jacks use when they hit a school of baitfish.

When jacks attack, especially near the surface, the water can start to look like it’s boiling, with baitfish leaping into the air in a panicky attempt to escape. 

The churning surface can look a lot like a piranha swarm in an old-time jungle movie! Jack crevalle aren’t piranha, however. They don’t have the same teeth and they don’t eat large land animals that fall in the water.

Swarms of jacks are after schools of fish, not people.

With their numbers, size, and aggression, if jack crevalle liked the taste of humans no one would get in the ocean!

One way you can get nipped is by dangling fingers or toes in the water near feeding jacks, but even if this happens it’s because the jack thinks your digits are baitfish. 

Does This Mean That A Jack Crevalle Can’t Injure You?

No, it doesn’t. Jack crevalle are big, aggressive fish and they have strong jaws, spines, and powerful bodies. They are also tenacious fighters by nature, and won’t quit until they’re exhausted. 

A jack crevalle is more than capable of delivering a hard bite, so you’ll want to keep your hands out of their mouths. 

A jack crevalle won’t quit fighting just because you’ve pulled it out of the water.

A big jack crevalle flailing around in a confined space can do some impressive damage. It can deliver bruising blows and hurt you with its spines.

Spine punctures can be a problem, not because a jack’s spines are venomous, but because this type of injury is prone to infection. 

Also, a thrashing jack can easily drive the hook you’re trying to remove into you, then thrash around while it’s hooked to both of you! 

When dealing with jack crevalle, a few precautions are a big help.



Get a pair of gloves and either needle-nose pliers or a hook removal tool.

The gloves protect your hands from the teeth, spines, and sharp scutes on the jack’s tail. The pliers or tools allow you never put your hands too close to any hook.

Some fishermen also like to wear long-sleeved shirts to protect their arms.

Control The Head

With the fish on the deck of your boat or the ground, pin the head down with your off-hand before trying to remove the lure.

This will prevent the fish from flinging the hooks around and accidentally hooking you or someone else. It also prevents them from moving around in the boat.

If you’re using a net, it’s not a bad idea to keep the jack at least partially in the net while removing the hook. 

Don’t Put Your Hand In A Jack Crevalle’s Mouth

Not even with gloves. The jacks mouth is powerful and getting a finger caught in there can be very uncomfortable!

This is where your pliers or unhooking tool can come in handy. You can get even a somewhat deep hook out without ever putting your hands in the jack’s mouth.

For jacks that are hooked deeper, you may want to just cut the bait loose. This is safer for you and is actually better for the fish. 

A recent Ph.D. study found that fish can usually dislodge even a deeply hooked lure within a day or two. Even while it’s in, it doesn’t seem to affect their daily activities in any meaningful way. Single hooks take a little longer, but they still come out.

Watch Out For The Scutes

Scutes are sharp, bony plates in the jack crevalle’s tail region. These are capable of drawing blood so wear gloves when handling them and be wary of the thrashing tail. 

Exhaust The Fish In The Water

This is especially important if you’re in a smaller or less stable boat, like a kayak.

Having a thrashing jack onboard could easily tip you into the ocean, so try to let him tire himself out in the water before you attempt to remove the hook. 

Don’t be impatient. Let the jack tow your kayak around for a while and when he stops fighting for good, bring him in. 

Growing up in Florida, I’ve been surrounded by saltwater my entire life…and I love sharing my passion with others.

To learn more about why I started Saltwater Mecca, visit the ABOUT page.

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