What's hot: Amberjack fishing in depths of 100-150 feet has been consistent lately. These bruisers are about 15-30 pounds in shallower depths and 30-50 pounds on deeper wrecks and springs. Take the time to secure a live well full of large baits such as big pinfish or blue runners. When fishing for amberjack, it is best to anchor over the structure you plan to fish, 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, making them harder to catch.
Tactics: Live bait is preferred, but artificial lures such as diamond jigs and large buck tail jigs work well, too. These lures should be dropped to the bottom and retrieved with large, quick sweeps of the rod. Most of the time, the jacks will take the jig on the fall. Slow-trolling a live blue runner on a downrigger is effective as well.
Tackle: Amberjack can be caught on many types of tackle. Most prefer large conventional reels such as a 4/0 or a 6/0 loaded with at least 80-pound mono. But these fish can be caught on large spinning reels and even fly rods, depending on the structure they are over. Using heavier tackle will wear the fish out much faster, so it is suggested if you plan to catch and release.
Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 or at fintasticinc.com.