If I had a dollar for every time I read something about jacks being underrated, I could afford to go permit fishing. The sheer number of this type of article leads me to believe that jacks aren't as underappreciated as the authors would like us to believe. What it tells me is that these are the fish we're not supposed to like, but do anyway.
Jacks, of course, are related to permit, but they're like the cousins no one wants to admit they have -- rough around the edges, unrefined, too quick to pick a fight. These are the same qualities, however, that make them more fun to hang out with.
Such is the case with the jack crevalle. I don't target them specifically, mainly because they tend to move around, and they do it quickly, especially when they're on the feed. When they stick around someplace, like they did one day I fished a power plant outflow on a chilly winter morning a few years back, the action can be great. That day, I caught medium-sized jacks on a topwater plug until they had straightened all the trebles.
Usually, I catch them on accident, but there have been many times when a jack has shown up to save an otherwise slow day, most of the time pulling harder than whatever fish I was trying to catch in the first place (there really aren't too many fish out there that are stronger, pound for pound). This happened only last Saturday, when the remnants of a mini cold front was passing through, and the wind was whipping me around the bayou I usually fish. The flats on the outside were simply impossible. Paddling was hard. Casting was hard. And the fish must have been hunkered down, riding it out like I should have been, but when you have an allotted time to fish, you take it.
Before my time was up, the tide turned around and started to come in. Mullet schools rode the incoming, and it looked like some of the smaller ones, maybe, were getting picked off by predators. On one of my final casts, I hooked a small jack that gave me a nice little fight before I let it go. That fish made my day, and I appreciated it plenty.
My guess is that jacks have a bigger fan club than people would have you believe, it's just that no one wants to admit it.