What's hot: Amberjack fishing in depths of 100-150 feet has been very consistent lately. These bruisers are ranging from 15 to 30 pounds in shallower depths and 40-60 on deeper wrecks and springs. Secure a live well full of large baits such as big pinfish or blue runners. When fishing for amberjack, anchor over the structure rather than drift. If you are on a drift and hook up, the school might follow the fish that is hooked and you will pull all of them off the spot.
Tactics: Live chumming will ensure a great bite. Start early at a local pass or bridge; throwing cast nets in the shadow line of most bridges at night will usually result in a live well full of scaled sardines or threadfin herring. Once you are over your amberjack spot, start by tossing a few dozen chummers over the side. If the jacks are there, you will know quickly because they will rise in the water column and swarm around the boat waiting for the next meal. Slow trolling a live blue runner on a downrigger is effective as well. Use your bottom machine to find where the fish are concentrated, then deploy the baits to that depth.
Tackle: Most prefer large, conventional reels loaded with at least 80-pound monofilament. But these fish can be caught on large spinning reels and even fly rods depending on the structure. Heavier tackle wears the fish out much faster, so it is suggested for catch and release.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 or at fintasticinc.com.