Yellow Jack (Caranx bartholomaei)

Yellow Jack (Caranx bartholomaei)

This small and spunky member of the Carangidae family is an occasional catch by anglers. Its flesh is considered fair to good eating.


Silvery with a yellow cast, the yellow jack has a bluish back and strongly yellow sides, which grow even more strikingly yellow after the fish dies. The fins are also yellowish, as is the tail. It lacks the black spot near the gill cover that the similar horse-eye jack has, and it has a less steep head. There are 25 to 28 soft rays in the dorsal fin and 18 to 21 gill rakers on the lower limb of the first arch. Young fish are more brassy in color and have many pale spots.


Averaging less than 2 pounds in weight and 1 to 2 feet in length, the yellow jack can reach a maximum of 3 feet and as much as 17 pounds. The all-tackle world record weighed 19 pounds, 7 ounces.

Other Names

French: carangue grasse; Spanish: cojinua amarilla, cibi amarillo.


In the western Atlantic, the yellow jack is found from Massachusetts to the Gulf of Mexico, including Bermuda, and south throughout the Caribbean and the West Indies to Maceio in Brazil.


Common on off-shore reefs, yellow jacks are usually solitary or travel in small groups in depths of up to 130 feet. Young typically roam inshore in mangrove-lined lagoons, often in association with jellyfish and floating sargassum.