JACK CREVALLE: REEL POWER

Field and Stream - - GIANT -

FLY

White-and-Chartreuse De­ceiver

LINE

30-foot clear in­ter­me­di­ate sink tip

Jack crevalle don’t get as much re­spect as they should. They are one of the hard­est fight­ers in the ocean—and the clos­est you can get to a gi­ant trevally with­out a ridicu­lously long flight. For an­glers look­ing to put meat in the box, they don’t hold much ap­peal; for a fly­fish­er­man want­ing to see lots and lots of back­ing, they’re a dream.

On a trip to Mis­sis­sippi, guide Sonny Schindler and I had chased wolf packs of jacks bust­ing mul­let around Cat Is­land all af­ter­noon, but ev­ery time we got in range, the fish would va­moose. At last, we man­aged to creep up on a school that had pinned bait against a grass bank. My De­ceiver sunk just out of sight, I stripped twice, and I was into my back­ing be­fore I could even say, “I’m on.” That’s when I re­al­ized I’d made a very stupid mis­take.

Al­though I had brought a large­di­am­e­ter reel, it didn’t have a large ar­bor. A sink tip of any weight al­ways in­creases slack in your line, as it cre­ates a belly. That means you have to work a lit­tle harder to keep a tight line when fight­ing a fish. When the pow­er­ful jack turned and came at me, that stan­dard-ar­bor reel couldn’t pick up line fast enough for me to stay tight. I don’t think I’ve ever reeled so fran­ti­cally in my life. Luck­ily, I had stuck the fish pretty well, and de­spite a few sec­onds of com­pletely limp line dur­ing the bat­tle, the mon­ster jack made it to the boat 30 min­utes later. Had I been us­ing a large ar­bor, I prob­a­bly would have cut that fight time in half.

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