Bar Jack (Caranx ruber)

Bar Jack (Caranx ruber)

A member of the Carangidae family, the bar jack is small and more like a saltwater panfish, but it is a scrappy species and a good food fish.


The bar jack is silvery, with a dark bluish stripe on the back that runs from the beginning of the soft dorsal fin and onto the lower tail fin. Sometimes there is also a pale-blue stripe immediately beneath the black stripe that extends forward onto the snout. The bar jack bears a resemblance to the blue runner but has fewer and less prominent large scales along the caudal peduncle than the blue runner does. The bar jack has 26 to 30 soft rays in the dorsal fin and 31 to 35 gill rakers on the lower limb of the first arch. When feeding near bottom, it can darken almost to black.


Usually 8 to 14 inches in length, the bar jack reaches a maximum of 2 feet.

Food and feeding habits

Opportunistic feeders, bar jacks feed mainly on pelagic and benthic fish, some shrimp, and other invertebrates.

Other Names

runner, skipjack; Spanish: cojinua carbonera, cojinua negra, negrito.


In the western Atlantic, bar jacks are found from New Jersey and Bermuda to the northern Gulf of Mexico and southern Brazil, as well as throughout the Caribbean.


Bar jacks are common in clear, shallow, open waters at depths of up to 60 feet, often over coral reefs. Usually traveling in spawning schools, they sometimes mix with goatfish and stingrays, although they are occasionally solitary.