The Jack Crevalle, which also may be called the common jack, trivially, yellow cavalli, black cavalli, or couvalli jack, is a popular marine fish found in the tropical and warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean. While these fish are typically a thrilling catch for fishermen, they are often considered a junk fish because of many people thinking that the flesh cannot be eaten.
However, Jack Crevalle can be eaten and when cooked correctly, are actually very delicious to eat. In this article, we will uncover why these fish should not be considered just another junk fish within the ocean. If you like the firm taste of rainbow trout, you will most certainly enjoy the flavor of a Jack Crevalle.
Jack Crevalle are abundant in the waters both inshore and offshore. They are predatory fish with power and quickness comparable to that of many types of tunafish. To the delight of fishermen, Jack Crevalle are active eaters and respond well to many lures and baitfish that are used by hook-and-line methods.
Fishermen welcome the bite as they are considered to be an exciting gamefish. They have a distinct look which helps anglers identify them right away. Their deep body features many profound shapes and colors that can be slightly altered depending on their diet and location. They typically grow to a size of 4-6 pounds but can exceed 40 pounds! Their length can range from anywhere between 1-4 feet.
If the fish fail to migrate to warmer waters, they won’t survive. Unfortunately, mass mortalities have occurred from these fish unsuccessfully reaching more tolerable waters. Understanding the habitat of the Jack Crevalle helps us to better understand why their flesh is safe to eat and a healthy fish for our diet.
The biggest problem with this fish is the lack of knowledge among most fishermen. Till this day, many still consider this fish to be an inedible fish that can only be used as bait. Learn the facts of how this fish can be consumed by educating yourself on how to fillet and cook the Jack Crevalle.
Can You Eat a Jack Crevalle?
It is time to reward yourself for your efforts reeling in the fish. As we already mentioned, yes, you can eat a Jack Crevalle! However, there are a few important steps that need to be followed in order to consume this fish safely as well as to help unlock the best taste:
- Jack Crevalle are aggressive swimmers and can reach some incredibly high speeds underwater. This means that the fish will have a strong flow of blood throughout their body. If you end goal is to eat the fish, then it is imperative that the fish be bleed out as soon as it is caught – best when still alive
- Like most fish, freshness should be of the utmost importance. After the fish is bleed out, store in a lot of ice in a location that is out of the sun and away from heat
- While some people actually enjoy the bloodline of the fish, I strongly recommend to avoid that part of the loin when eating this fish. It has a real gamey taste and the meat is really dark compared to the average bloodline of other fish
How do you Clean and Fillet a Jack Crevalle?
Steps to Fillet a Jack Crevalle
- Always bleed and clean the fish as soon as the Jack Crevalle is caught – you may bleed the fish out by cutting the gills. Feel free to remove the cuts as well
- Now, to start filleting, insert the knife at the backbone and run it down along the dorsal fin line. Cutting down the backbone should create a ‘clicking’ noise – this helps carve out the loins
- Next, try your best to execute an angled cut located in the back of the pectoral fin. Cut through the belly down to the tail. This may be a little difficult due to the scales of the fish
- For the last cut, you will need to free the loins from the body of the fish
- At this point, you can decide whether or not to cut the bloodline. Mentioned earlier, I strongly recommend that you do as it tends to have a more profound taste the bigger that the fish is
- When you have your final loins of meat, do not soak them in freshwater. It is always best to rinse fish with a saltwater hose to maintain flavor and the integrity of the flesh
What is the Best Recipe for Cooking Jack Crevalle?
Crispy Seared Jack Fingers
- Cut the fish into thin strips of meat
- Oil the strips with either olive or vegetable oil
- Lightly season the strips. For seasoning, you can use old bay, pepper or another preferred fish seasoning
- Place the strips in a hot frying pan on medium-high heat
- Cook each strip for 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crispy
- After they are done cooking, use paper towels to dry the fingers and absorb some of the excess oil
- This method is easy, quick and delicious. A great appetizer. Enjoy!
What is the Biggest Jack Crevalle Ever Caught?
According to the International Game Fish Association, the largest Jack Crevalle ever caught was 66 pounds and 2 ounces. This extraordinary jack was caught back in 2000 near Angola, Africa. This record shattered the previous record by almost 8 pounds. The amazing fact is that the fish only took 15 minutes to reel in – not too bad!
As a popular catch for those who fish in warm waters around reefs, bays, lagoons or ocean depths of up to 1200 feet, the Jack Crevalle can be a tasty fish that is now worth celebrating when it is caught. With a thick, meat-like taste, you will be surprised with the amount of anglers that have discounted the flavor of this fish over the course of many years.
These fish are being under-utilized and even worse, wasted. As they grow to a larger size (greater than 15 pounds), it is best to catch and release the females in order to protect and grow their population. The Jack Crevalle fish can certainly be treated as an asset within our oceans. Now, it is time to welcome this fish to your cooler of ice.