September 21, 2007



A casting rod for jacks needs backbone, especially in the lower half of its design.You need fish-stopping strength, pure lifting power, yet that power should not extend too far up the rod or you will exhaust yourself before the fish tires. Look for 6 1/2- to 7-foot casting rods, designed for lines up to 40-lb. test. Rugged spinning or c asting reels capable of handling 20 to 30-pound test will work fine.



Due to the strength of most adult jacks, any rod less than a 12-weight may prove to be too light.. A 10-weight can’t stop a big jack or bluefin trevally from parting the leader on the rocks. The whole trick to success lies in the rod and leader’s ability to stop the fish almost immediately.

A 12-weight is the minimum, and a 13- or 15-weight may be more practical, especially if you snag a big roosterfish. Check any salt water fly rod for lifting power, because you’ll want at least 12 to 15 pounds of lift.

Fly reels built to withstand the rigors of big crevalle and other hyper-thyroid fish are designed to hold a 12-weight line plus an ample amount of backing. Good choices in the lesser-expensive class include those by Penn and ScientificAngler. High-end reels include the Fin-Nor Standard and Anti-Reverse, the Seamaster, Ross, Catino, and Billy Pate models. All have velvet smooth drags and the highest quality construction.


Fly lines need not sink, so use either a floater or an intermediate sinker. Any line for casting big flies should have a salt water taper. Leaders should be built with strong knots. The butt section can be 50-lb test tied directly to the fly line. Tippets should by tied with doubled loops and a Bimini twist on each end. To this, attach a shock leader of 80-lb test leader material. If you’re not trying for a world record, there’s no reason why the larger jacks can’t be targeted with a 30-lb tippet. You’ll land more that way.


Although 20-lb test mono is fun to use, it has the minimal strength needed for handling these active fighters. Choose a good 25-lb test co-polymer that still allows casting distance and you’re better off and heavier armed.


With baitcasting and spinning tackle, use a 3-foot shock leader of 80-lb test. Attach it to the main line with a Albright Knot, and check it frequently for abrasion near the plug. If wear is apparent, cut back on the shocker and re-attach the lure.crevalle or roosters.

Casting To Structure

Jacks love structure and holes in rocky outcroppings. Along the Pacific surf and islands, they are best fished for during the early morning and evening. Ideal conditions include breaking waves along broken shoreline and crannies, and areas around large seaward rocks. The surf along sandy beaches also holds all three species.


Drop your popper or fly as close to shore or a specific rock as possible. Immediately start working the lure back in an enticing and somewhat rapid retrieve. Usually, you’ll see the strike before you feel the fish. When the fish is felt, set the hook at least twice and apply as much pressure as your tackle can withstand. Try to keep the jack from reaching the rocks and breaking off. It’s a fun and exciting game.

Trolling The Shoreline

In late morning and throughout the afternoon, most jacks and roosters move offshore into deeper water. They will move back into the shoreline areas during the evening and at night. Therefore, mid-day trolling with swimming plugs can account for some nice fish. Work along beaches, trolling outside the surf line, and snake your way along the deeper rocky areas up to 100 yards offshore.

Trolling speeds need not be any more than 3 or 4 knots. Keep 2 to 4 rigs trolling flat-line style, two rigs being towed further back. Reels should be set on “strike” or a similar amount of tension. As soon as the fish takes line, pick up the rod — and hang on!


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