What's hot: This month marks our transition into fall. Gag grouper is closed but those willing to adjust tactics offshore will be rewarded with some outstanding fishing. Large structure is the place to be when the weather is unpredictable. Wrecks and springs in most depths will hold huge numbers of the season's largest amberjack. Bluerunners and white grunts work best, but if you are using baits that are a pound or better, tackle up because these baits will find the largest fish on the spot.
Tackle: My usual setup when targeting amberjack is a 6/0 size reel loaded with 100-pound mainline. On the terminal end is a large 9/0-12/0 circle and nothing else. Stealth is key as these large predators have seen it all. Hook the bait near the anal fin. Always have the clutch in free spool, letting the bait look as natural as possible. When you feel the hit, count to five and engage the reel.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.