What's hot: Amberjack has been consistent lately in 100-150 feet. These bruisers range from 15-30 pounds in shallower depths and 30-50 pounds on deeper wrecks and springs. Secure a livewell full of large baits such as pinfish or bluerunners. Anchor over the structure rather than drift. If you are on a drift and hook up, the school might follow the hooked fish and you will pull all of them off of the spot, making them harder to catch.
Tactics: While live bait is preferred, artificial lures such as diamond jigs and large bucktail jigs also work well. Drop them to the bottom and retrieve with large, quick sweeps of the rod. Most times, jacks will take the jig on the fall. Slow-trolling a live bluerunner on a downrigger also is effective. Use your bottom machine to locate the concentration of fish.
Tackle: Most prefer large, conventional reels such as a 4/0 or a 6/0 loaded with at least 80-pound mono. But amberjack can be caught on large spinning reels and even fly rods depending on the structure. Heavier tackle wears out the fish faster. So use it if you plan to catch and release.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.