Hey, if you have wet a line lately you probably had an encounter with those brackish bad boys- jack crevalle. Right now marauding schools of jacks are ruling the rivers and their estuaries.
Fishing on a quiet stretch of water recently I had my contemplation dashed by a nearby explosion. A school of jacks crashed into a shoal of finger mullet with a fury that defies description. The terrorized bait fish scattered for their lives. Some made it; some didn't. It was all over in seconds. Quiet once more prevailed and it was hard to believe what had just happened. The only give away was the birds that began to dive on the pieces of fish that were left behind.
This scene is being repeated the length and breadth of the inshore waterways. If you want to hook up with jacks (and you should) fish the Indian River boat docks south of the Edgewater boat ramps. On a fast-moving tide the west side of the river will hold fun all the way south to Lopez Fish Camp in Oak Hill.
Rose Bay east of U.S. 1 also will have jack fun. There all you need do is sit and wait until they show themselves. Spruce Creek just west of the Halifax boat channel will always hold big jacks at this time of year.
Catch them on shrimp, bait fish or any artificial. A word to the wise, dig deep into your box for any lure you bought on the discount table. Jacks are not picky eaters and you are bound to lose some bait. Jacks are just so darn strong that it usually does not take a very large one to overpower my light tackle.
Miller's Creek will have a load of small jacks at the east end near the channel markers. In that spot blue fish will be mixed in to add to the fun. Just south of Pelican Island, near the Dunlawton boat ramps, is a prime spot to get your line stretched by those bruisers.
The Orange Avenue bridge is one of my all time favorite spots for jacks. There all you need do is wait and watch for the feeding explosion If you can get to the spot while it is still happening, all you need do is drop any buck fifty lure into the mix and hang on. Be prepared for these are big fish and will immediately take you under the bridge where they can rub your line on the pilings.
Down through the years I have lost most of those battles on Orange Avenue but it sure is fun. A few years ago I was there for the jacks and waiting as the bridge went up to stop traffic. Lots of people in their parked cars watched me take off in a mad dash down the sidewalk trying to get to a jack explosion in time to drop in a lure. I'm sure the onlookers wondered what would get an old guy moving that fast. Jacks were the answer.
Under the east end of Seabreeze bridge jacks will also be waiting to play. These are larger and will require some stout tackle.
A few days ago I was on the boards under the Granada bridge in Ormond Beach when the jacks began to eat. Each time the feeding frenzy began I would sprint off to get in on it - lots of room to run there. Not too many things will get me moving like that.
Up at Flagler the jacks will be along the sea wall on the west side of the river north of the big bridge. Jacks love a seawall and you should fish all of them.
Downtown New Smyrna Beach has a great seawall for jacks. I suppose it is clear that right now jacks are almost anyplace you go. You might be looking for other fish, but, if you find them, play the hand that is dealt to you. You won't be sorry.
Dan Smith has fished the waters of Volusia County for more than 40 years. E-mail questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. His book, "I Swear the Snook Drowned," is available for $10.95 at (386) 441-7793.