Jack crevalle add a page to Hilton Head’s summer fishing

Capt. Brian Vaughn poses with a jack crevalle, one of his favorite fish to pursue during the hot months.

Jack crevalle don’t mind the heat

August’s hot weather puts the lockjaw on many fish along the Carolina shorelines. But one that gets little fanfare, the jack crevalle, chomps its way through hot weather. One of the best places to catch them this month is South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island.

Capt. Brian Vaughn of Off the Hook Fishing Charters really enjoys catching and putting his clients on these fish. He said their bite is unparalleled for their size.

“Pound for pound, jack crevalle are the strongest species of fish that swim in our waters,” said Vaughn (843-298-4376), who specializes in catching these fish with fly rods. He’s an IGFA world-record holder for the species, having caught a 35-pound jack in 2018 to set the 8-pound tippet record.

These fish are plentiful in the Hilton Head area from June through September, and these aren’t small fish. Be prepared for a long battle when you hook a jack crevalle.

“This is a great summer fishery for jacks. The pods around here will number from a few fish to hundreds. These fish average about 20 pounds, but some are bigger than 30 pounds,” Vaughn said.

Spinning gear and fly-fishing tackle work great

When using fly-fishing tackle, he suggests a 10- or 11-weight, fast-action rod paired with a large-arbor reel. And, he said, anglers need plenty of backing.

“You need about 200 yards of backing, because when you hook one of these fish, they will for sure get you well into your backing. I prefer a 9-foot leader with a short piece of bite tippet of 40 to 50 pounds,” he said.

Popping bugs are great choices and will draw impressive topwater bites. And once anglers draw a strike from one of these fish, they need to be prepared for a true battle.

“These fish are extremely fast, extremely powerful. A 30-minute battle is normal, and some fights can last hours,” he said.

For those wishing to use conventional tackle, Vaughn said that’s no problem. Spinning reels in 4500 to 6500 sizes are great, and stout rods are necessary. Large poppers draw plenty of aggressive strikes from these fish.

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About Brian Cope 1996 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of CarolinaSportsman.com. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at brianc@sportsmannetwork.com.

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