John's Journal...


Jerkbaits for Jack Crevalle

Click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Captain Dave Sutton of Homestead, Florida, a fishing guide in the Everglades National Park, Biscayne Bay National Park and the Upper Florida Keys, takes anglers to permit, tarpon, redfish, snook, speckled trout, dolphin, wahoo, grouper and snapper. Sutton, who has fished these waters for 16 years and has guided for the last 6 years, has discovered that using the new Spike-It products for these saltwater fish pays off for him.

Click to enlargeOn another fishing trip, I was taking a party out to a fairly well-known wreck called the Rockpile. I set my anchor, and we could see a school of fish working the reef below the boat. We thought they were permit, a close relative to the pompano, so we started casting with Spike-It soft-plastic Holographic jerkbaits, in the Opening Night color. I had two rods with the Opening Night color jerkbaits on them, and I had two rods set up with live crabs. My two anglers were casting the live crab because that's a favorite bait of the permit. I picked up the rod with the Spike-It Opening Night color jerkbait on it with 10-pound-test line and made a really long cast. I used a small 1/8-ounce bullet head weight to pinch onto the line. I put that lead about 18 inches up the line from the Holographic jerkbait in Opening Night for two reasons: the lead allowed me to cast the bait further, and after I twitched the bait, the lead caused the jerkbait to fall faster. I wanted to work the Opening Night jerk bait, and then when I stopped twitching the lure, I wanted it to fall, which was when I got the most strikes.

Click to enlargeWhen I use these Spike-It jerkbaits, I give them a lot of rod tip action. I'll make three quick twitches, let the bait fall about a foot or two, give three more quick twitches to bring the bait up and cause it to dart and then let it fall again. Most of the time, I'll get a strike when the bait's falling.

On this day that we were fishing for permit, as I was bringing the Opening Night-colored jerkbait back in, I got a vicious strike. The line flew off the reel with the drag squalling like a long-tailed cat with its tail caught under a rocking chair. I handed my rod off to one of my customers to fight the fish. I reeled in both of the live-crab rods because this fish my customer had on was going crazy and running everywhere. For 24 minutes, the battle raged. I really didn't know whether we would get that fish into the boat or not. But, finally the fish came to the boat, and instead of being a permit, we had landed a 21-pound jack crevalle after an unbelievable fight. I already knew that a jack crevalle would fight until almost dead. My customer thought that was one of the greatest fighting fish he'd ever caught. He couldn't believe he'd caught the fish on a soft-plastic bait.

Click to enlargeAlthough the jack crevalle isn't a glamour fish, it fights as hard if not harder than a permit. The jack uses the flatness of its body and the force of the water to pull against the rod. When you've got one on, you feel like you're trying to land a piece of plywood that's turned sideways.

For more information on how you can fish with Captain Dave Sutton, contact him at or go to To learn more about Spike-It's top-quality lures, paints and other fishing products and the Color-C-Lector, go to


Check back each day this week for more about CAPTAIN DAVE SUTTON ON SALTWATER FISHING WITH SPIKE-IT

Day 1: Dolphin on Spike-It Soft Plastics
Day 2: Jerkbaits for Jack Crevalle
Day 3: Redfish and Snook on Spike-It Products
Day 4: Spike-It for Speckled Trout
Day 5: Tarpon with Spike-It



Entry 303, Day 2