How To Catch Jack Crevalle In the Surf – A Quick Guide

Jack crevalle are a powerful predatory fish that can be found in a wide variety of marine environments but catching them in the surf may be the most fun.

And who doesn’t love fishing at the beach?

Growing up on the east coast of Florida, I’ve been fishing in the surf for jacks my whole life. In this article, I’ll share a few tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years to target and catch jack crevalle in the surf.

Table of Contents

Quick Tips To Catch Jack Crevalle In The Surf

The key to catching a jack crevalle in the surf is to use the proper bait, gear, and lures. It is also important to ensure you are casting out in the strike zone- this may be very deep, or shallow depending on the time of year and location.

How To Catch Jack Crevalle In the Surf
  • You will need a fishing pole capable of long casts, as well as a tough fishing line that is durable.
  • You will also need to carefully select your bait or lures, as the rough waters can easily strip them off of your line. 
  • You will also need to employ specific fishing tricks and techniques in order to present your bait or lure in the surf.

What Is The Best Bait for Jack Crevalle When Surf Fishing?

If you want to stick to strictly bait for jack crevalle, you have many great options.

Matching the native food sources as close as possible is always a good idea for bait. Jack crevalle love to hunt and eat things such as mullet, herring, and pilchards. 

Jack crevalle are aggressive fish, so presenting live bait such as large mullet or herring can trigger a quick response.

Just ensure that you attach them properly to your hook. The surf can be rough and easily rip your baitfish right off the hook if it is not on right. 

You May Also Like: 5 Ways To Hook Mullet For Bait & Increase Your Hook Sets!

When live bait fish are not available or you want to use something a little smaller, both shrimp and crabs can also be used for jack crevalle.

Regardless of what type of live bait you use, ensure that you match the size of the hook to the size of your bait for best results. 

If live bait is not your style, cut bait can be just as effective as well.

Cut mullet is a great choice, as it is generally easy to come across and produces plenty of scent in the water. This will attract any nearby predators, including the big jack crevalle. 

What Are the Best Lures for Catching Jack Crevalle?

Although live bait works great for jack crevalle, many anglers prefer to use artificial lures.

These have plenty of great benefits, especially since jack crevalle are very aggressive fish. They also school in large numbers, meaning you will get plenty of action due to competition while fishing with lures. 

The best artificial lures to use for jack crevalle are simple lures such as jigs, diving plugs, spoons, and topwater plugs.

Jigs are the most popular choice, and they are very versatile. They can be cast well and can be made to imitate a wide variety of different bait species. 

Plugs are also great when you match them to the fish that jack crevalle are currently feeding on. They closely resemble the bait and have great motion in the water.

Lastly, spoons are great for attracting attention from long distances when you don’t know where the fish are located. 

How Do You Catch Jack Crevalle From the Shore?

Once warmer weather starts to roll in, large schools of baitfish will migrate near the shore and various beaches.

If you’ve never heard of the mullet run, do some research on when it may occur in your area. This can be a fantastic time to fish for jack crevalle.

In any case, bait is always present if you know where to look and following right behind them will be hungry jack crevalle that are hunting them.

When you are fishing from the shore, you can have just as much success as those out on boats if you know what to look for.

After you first arrive, walk along the beach and look for any diving sea birds such as pelicans or seagulls. This will indicate an area with schools of bait. Tie on your bait or lure and toss it into this area. Be ready for a quick strike, as hungry fish will be lying in wait for an easy meal. 

If you don’t see any birds, look for deep cuts or rips that you believe baitfish will start conjugating.

This is when live bait or cut mullet tend to work well, as you can sink it to the bottom and then sit back and wait for a hit. Use rigs such as the drop shot rig and fish finder rig to target the bottoms. 

As you are fishing from the shore, remember to keep your drag set fairly loose. A big jack crevalle can pull extremely hard and even take your whole fishing rig with it if left unattended.

Even if they don’t take the whole rig, they can easily cause some serious wear and tear on all of your fishing gear. 

From broken lines and swivels to straightened hooks, bring along your beefiest fishing gear to tackle jack crevalle.

A 7-foot medium-action or medium-heavy spinning rod will be able to handle most fish, but if you are catching giant jacks then you may even need to step it up a little bit from that. 

Shore fishing means you must take a little extra time and effort to catch fish. Bring your long casting gear, aim to cast as far as you can, and you will most likely be just fine. 

Best Conditions to Catch Jack Crevalle in the Surf

Jack crevalle can be found in many locations and almost every type of habitat in the warm waters that they call home.

But there are certain areas, times, and conditions that can help aid you in the search for these fish. 

The best time to fish for jack crevalle in the surf is during an incoming tide. To best utilize your time, arrive at low tide to scout out the area. Walk along the beach and look for areas like exposed structure that you can target later on after the tide comes in. 

Once the tide starts to roll in, begin fishing the areas you have predetermined to be potential fishing areas.

The best time to catch jack crevalle in the surf is generally around two hours before a high tide until about an hour after the high tide comes in. 

Summers are the most popular time of year to go fishing on the beach and battle the surf, but the spring and fall can also produce excellent results.

Fish will be changing their habits during these changing seasons, providing an opportunity to take advantage of their hungry stomachs and constant movement. 

Regardless of what time of year you are fishing, be sure to cast in the right areas when surf fishing.

The best fishing action is often found further out, and you will often need to cast anywhere from 50 to 100 yards from the beach to be effective.

This will usually put you beyond breaking waves and where hungry fish are waiting to feed!

Final Thoughts

Not only is surf fishing enjoyable and relaxing, you just never know what your going to catch.

Snook, tarpon, croakers, redfish, black drum, flounder, mackeral, sharks and countless other fish roam within casting distance…get out there and try it!

And if you need help identifying your catch, check out my article on how to tell the difference between a jack crevalle vs pompano.

These two fish look very similar, and one of them is heavily regulated with size and season limits!

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.

Thank you for reading this article. Browse around & have some fun!