What does a postman do on his off day? He’ll often go for a hike, take his family fishing or head to the woods to hunt deer and other wild game. But we wanted to know what Greg Hackney fishes for on his off day, since fishing is both an addiction and an obsession.
When I go home to Gonzales, Louisiana, and I’m not fishing for bass, I love to go to salt water and fish for jack crevalle. At home, I have a variety of fish that I can try and catch, both in fresh water and salt water. However, in my opinion, the jack crevalle is the most fun to fish for and catch in the Gulf of Mexico. This fish lives in relatively shallow water, and I believe it’s the hardest-pulling fish that lives inshore. The jack crevalle produces the most explosive, never-to-forget strike on topwater lures of any fish in the Gulf.
These fish have yellow fins like yellowfin tuna do and is every bit as strong as a yellowfin tuna. They live on the Upper Gulf Coast, making them convenient to fish for within easy driving distance from my home. Every rock jetty from Florida to Texas has jack crevalle around them. So, you don’t have to have a boat to go catch these titans of the shallow water. And most importantly, they love topwater lures. Although they’re not viewed as a food fish for most people, but as a fun fish to catch and release, those crevalle are hard to beat.
Lake Pontchartrain, which is 45 minutes from my house, is full of big crevalle. I believe they’re the most difficult to subdue of the saltwater fish that live close to shore. For me, fishing is the pursuit, the fight and the joy of the release of any fish that’ll tug on my line. I earn my living by fishing for bass on the Major League Fishing Circuit, but when I want to have a fun day away from competition, I really love to go to Lake Pontchartrain or any other site on the Upper Gulf Coast and catch jack crevalle.
The biggest one I’ve ever caught weighed about 40 pounds. I fish for these bullies with bass tackle - 50-pound-test braided line. When I hook one of these fish up, I know I’ve got a 15 to 20-minute fight on my hands. One of the things to remember when you’re fishing for jack crevalle is that these fish can change direction so fast, you’ll think you’ve lost them when your line goes slack. I think crevalle are the coolest fish that live in salt water.
Most people, when they hook up jack crevalles, will put their thumbs on their reels and break the fish off. Because they’re so strong, you’ll spend a lot of energy just trying to get one to the boat or to the jetties. Once you get one close to the boat, and you think you’re going to land one, it will start swimming in a circle and continue to fight, even if you’re worn out. The jack crevalle is a great fish for a youngster to catch. You can catch them on artificial lures or live bait, but I like to fish for them with a cobia jig, and I’ve caught them on a Cocahoe Minnow when I’m trying to fish for speckled trout.
Crevalle are much like opossums; they’ll eat anything. They also have giant mouths like bass. And, they’re very sight-oriented fish. When they blow up on a topwater lure, the explosion looks much like what will happen if someone throws my pickup truck off a tall bridge.