Caranx Lugubris



Offshore, Reef, Wrecks

12 - 26 pounds

27" - 39"

Black Jack Game Fish Quality Decent
Black Jack Meal Quality Poor
Black Jack Fly Fishing Quality Very Good

Black Jack 

Black Jack 
Also Known As: Black Trevally, Black Kingfish

Black Jack (Caranx Lugubris) Description

A member of the Jack family like the Pompano, the Black Jack are known for their black to gray fins which their name is derived from. They also have jet black scutes that branch from their deeply forked, short tail. Black Jacks are not moderately round like their Pompano cousins, rather they have a steep slope that makes them appear as if they have a forehead. Their whole body is a gradient of an olive-brown to a dirty white-pewter grey color. 

Black Jacks are also known for having a larger mouth than most of their cousins. They also have scythe-shaped pectoral fins. Their dorsal fin is also split into two sections with the first section having eight spines whereas the second section has one spine accompanied by 20-22 rays. It has a slight indent near its nostrils due to the concave at its snout and nape.

The Black Jack can also be mistaken for a Giant Trevally but the best way to tell them apart is through the darker coloration. Black Jacks are darker in color and have a scaly breast, unlike the Giant Trevally.


Black Jack Diet and Size

Black Jacks are carnivorous and predatory fish. They eat a variety of fish, mollusks, and crustaceans. However, the Black Jacks are also reported to eat the excrement of Spinner Dolphins.

Black Jacks usually are under 70 cm long. However, there have been some cases where they exceed a meter or 2.


Interesting Facts about the Black Jack

  • Black Jacks are ambiverts.
    • They can either go solo or they usually go in a school with 30 others.
  • Black Jacks produce croaking sounds by grinding their teeth together while releasing gas from their air bladders.
  • They’re voracious eaters. Black Jacks feasting on their prey can be spotted from a good distance.
  • Black Jacks are known for carrying ciguatera toxins which is why they’re usually thrown back into the water.
  • Black Jacks like hanging around deeper waters. People find it rare for them to show up near the surface.
  • In Brazil, the Black Jack is said to be a competitor with the Red Snapper for food.
  • Black Jacks can communicate over corals and reefs by detecting dimethylsulfoniopropionate which is commonly released by marine algae.
  • Black Jacks like their cousins are fast-swimming fish.


Black Jack – Fishing Techniques: How to Fish for a Black Jack

Like any member of the Jack family, they are fierce and tenacious fighters. It also doesn’t help that the Black Jacks are also known for being voracious eaters. As highly predatory animals, you’ll have to find a way to make this work to your advantage.

Usually, you’ll find Black Jack among a school of other fish. But you’re only trying to catch the Black Jack and nothing else. One of the few things to use is live bait and it has to be for their particular preference. Some opted to use live small shrimp by hooking it straight through their heads. This allows some post-mortem movement to show as if the bait is still alive.

For hook size, it’s okay to use a slightly bigger hook as the Black Jacks are quite big themselves.


Black Jack Habitat and Distribution

Black Jacks often stay in the deep. They stay in clear waters at the edge of the more outermost reefs. They loiter around in brackish waters and sometimes hang near the deeper parts of the coast.