Are Jack Crevalle Good to Eat? Read This First

March 5, 2021

Are Jack Crevalle Good to Eat? Read This First

Jack Crevalle is only as good as the way it is cooked. If you asked the average angler, they would scoff at the idea of this being a tasty meal. They have an awful reputation for their pungent fishy taste. But there are ways to prepare this fish to make the most of their flavor. This species of fish is best prepared with lime or lemon juice, some garlic, and your favorite spices. So are Jack Crevalle good to eat?

The short answer is yes, jack Crevalle are fine to eat if you prepare them correctly. But they are known to be tough and strong tasting. Keep reading to learn how to cook them!

But before we get into preparing and cooking Jack Crevalle, let’s find out a little bit more about this fish. You might have already known this fish as the “common jack.” And as for the edibility rating, it is pretty subpar – like sturgeon. We prefer eating milder-tasting fish, like Cubera Snapper.

Facts About Jack Crevalle

The Jack Crevalle frequents tropical water and are not well suited to cold water. If they do find themselves in cold water, they are not likely to survive. Jack Crevalle are usually found around the Mexican Gulf areas of Florida and as well as the Southern Atlantic regions. They are a migratory species, so they avoid the cold water. Their diet consists of crabs, shrimp, prawns, and pinfish. 

The Jack Crevalle is a predator and a great game fish for anglers to target. You can find them in estuaries, bays, reefs, and lagoons. They travel and hunt in packs and will give any excited angler a fight. Jack Crevalle are renowned for their taste, but they are a popular game fish for sportfishing.

If commercial fishermen catch them, they will usually be used as bait for sharks and other large fish. If you are keen on eating a Jack Crevalle, then you should opt for the smaller fish. This is because the larger fish (like most game fish) contain more mercury, the larger they become. 

When catching Jack Crevalle for dinner, there’s an essential thing for you to remember. Bleed the fish out as soon as possible! You’ll have to let the blood drain from the fish after you rip the gills. By letting the fish bleed out, you’ll make sure the flesh is not flooded with blood. The less blood, the better the fish will taste. If you catch it before you’re ready to go home, then make sure you have ice handy so that you can preserve the freshness. Always eat Jack Crevalle as soon as possible. 

Filleting Jack Crevalle

When answering are Jack crevalle good to eat, you should first make sure you fillet them correctly. The Crevalle has a unique bone structure, so you’ll have to clean it differently from other fish. For the Jack, make sure you fillet it moving from the top of the fish to the bottom. And no matter what fish you’re filleting, make sure you use a sharp knife as possible.

While you should always use a sharp knife no matter what fish you’re filleting, the Jack Crevalle’s bloodline needs to be separated from the flesh using a sharp knife. Because the bloodline is so clear, you should have no problem locating it. You’ll notice it because it will be darker than the rest of the meat and will also have less texture. Cut the entire bloodline out so you can ensure you have the tastiest Jack Crevalle that you can. 

If you have already filleted the fish, let them soak in buttermilk. If you don’t want to use buttermilk, you can use full-fat milk. This is important because the protein solids in full-fat milk or buttermilk will help to remove the fishy taste. The protein solids will bind to these fishy compounds, drawing them out of the fish. Make sure the fillets can rest in the milk for about two days. Turn them after one day. 

Soaking the Fillets

After you’ve let the fillets soak, it’s time to prepare them. Remove the fillets and pat them dry. You could rinse the fillets, but remember that the fish oils are important for the taste, and the rinsing might get rid of some of these healthy oils. Instead of rinsing, you could pat the fillets dry with a paper towel. 

Jack Crevalle is a dark meat fish, and so you can’t prepare them the same way as you would prepare a while meat gamefish. Here’s an interesting recipe for you to try. 

Once you have your soaked Jack Crevalle fish fillets, you might notice that they look similar to a steak. While the taste is certainly different, you could prepare it in a similar way as you would a steak. 

You can cook them on an oiled iron skillet after coating them in your favorite seasoning salt. It would help if you flash cooked the ‘steaks’ for only a few minutes on each side. You’ll know they are ready once the flakes start coming off easily. Serve them with some savory rice and an avocado-based horseradish sauce. 

So, next time you hook a Jack Crevalle, you might be inspired to keep it for dinner. Here are some tips for catching a Jack Crevalle.

The Jack Crevalle is targeted by sport fishermen in the Florida area and generally puts up quite a fight. They are large, heavy fish so make sure you have the right tackle for a Jack Crevalle. 

Jack Crevalle Fact Sheet

Other Jack Species:

  • Bluefin (Caranx melampygus)
  • Pacific (Caranx caninus)
  • Horse-Eye (Caranx latus)
  • Giant (Caranx ignobilis)
  • BigEye (Caranx sexfasciatus)

Jack Crevalle Appearance

The Jack Crevalle looks like a smaller Amberjack. However, they are larger but do share many physical attributes. The Jack Crevalles’ tail is thinner and has a tail with the trademark V shape that you often see on Dorados

Coloring

The Jack Crevalle has a varied coloring that can be blue, light silver, or even have a green sheen. The back dorsal fin is dark, and the rest of the fins are yellow. Like the fins, the Crevalle has a yellowish belly. They have long pectoral fins, and their caudal fin is forked. 

Length

Mature Crellale Jacks generally grow to 4 feet long, and at the most, they will weigh approximately 70 lbs. But, 70 lbs is the maximum weight for these fish as most anglers usually find themselves reeling in a  Crevalle that weighs less than 10 lbs. A mature adult Crevalle is a large, aggressive fish, and many kayakers will find themselves towed if they are not careful. 

Range/Distribution

Crevalles are migratory fish and can be found in Florida from Spring to Fall. During this time they can be caught from shore using a surf fishing rod and surf fishing reel. They will travel south or to deeper water when winter hits as that has a terminal temperature that is usually less than 50 degrees. 

Habitat

Jack Crevalles can make most warm water their home. Most deep-sea fishermen in the Tampa area have encountered them- whether in shallow water or out in the deep. Their favorite hangout spots tend to be rocky structures and even wrecks.

But they will even hunt for baitfish in sandy areas as well as rocky ledges. Their favorite habitats may be hard to pinpoint (they can be anywhere from 1 foot deep to 1000 feet deep), but that doesn’t mean they are a difficult fish to find. On the contrary, they are found almost everywhere every time you set out into the warm Florian coastline. 

They are not solitary hunters and usually remain in schools. The minimum number of Jack Crevalles in a school is three, while the maximum is no more than 10. The larger, more mature Jack Crevalles will be cautious and will not make an easy catch. 

Diet

They will feast on a large range of small fish, but, interestingly enough, enthusiasts have noted that they will target a specific type of fish for their lifespan. This will depend on the habitat and area that they are in. While the Jack Crevalle will eat predominantly fish (like mullet), they are also opportunistic predators. They will happily make a meal out of a tasty crustacean or squid if they have the opportunity. 

Jack Crevalle are not fussy eaters, and they will feed off of anything that they can. Because of this, or maybe, as a result, their digestive system is able to process any meal within record time. Anglers and researchers alike have a hard time understanding what the Jack Crevalle has eaten because their digestive system processes food so rapidly. 

Crevalle Jack Fishing World Record

The largest caught Jack Crevalle (according to the IGFA record), is 56 lbs. 

Why Should Anglers Target Jack Crevalle?

Saltwater fishing provides much excitement, which is one of the main reasons why anglers head out into the ocean to do it. The jack crevalle is a tough fish that puts up a ferocious fight for even the most seasoned fisherman. They will give a good fight, and an angler must draw on every ounce of skill to reel one in. This is especially true if they want to keep their gear intact. Check out our guide on the best lures for Jack Crevalle to learn more.

If you reel in a large Crevalle, take good care of it and let it swim back out into the ocean. If you reel in a smaller one, then you could use our recipe and cooking tips. Whether you catch and release or keep it for a cook-up, there’s always one thing to remember: respect. Having respect for the sea and the fish you reel in is a hallmark of being a great fisherman. 

Once you have a Jack hooked, expect a long fight. They typically pull hard and swim fast while trying to escape by shifting their direction. Many anglers describe them as similar to catching mackerel. We hope you enjoyed this article on are Jack Crevalle good to eat.

Check out our article on the best lures for Jack Crevalle to ensure the very best chances of success. 

Happy Hunting!

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0 thoughts on “Are Jack Crevalle Good to Eat? Read This First”

  1. Thank you for all that information on Jack’s, we are heading to the Tampa Bay area from Greenville South Carolina this week to do some fishing and we love all kinds of fish so I would love to get a jack and maybe even try smoking one. But definitely I will hone my skills so to speak and try to fillet this fish properly.

    Paul.

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