Ready for Amberjack? How to Prepare for Your Next Fishing Charter in Sarasota, FL

August 28, 2018

Have you been daydreaming about your next big ocean fishing excursion? Whether you’re from here in the Sarasota area or from elsewhere in the company coming in for a visit, now’s the perfect time to plan your next fishing charter in Sarasota, FL. It’s one of the biggest times of year for amberjack fishing, and if you’ve never gone out for amberjack before, you’re in for a great time!

Amberjack are certainly not the greatest looking fish in the ocean—they’re lovingly referred to as “reef donkeys” for a reason. However, they pull hard and give a great challenge, even to the most seasoned fishers. In many parts of Latin America they’re referred to as “pez fuerte,” meaning “strong fish.”

You’ll find amberjack in tropical reefs in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. While they do occasionally wander up to the surface, they’re usually found closer to the bottom, between 60 and 250 feet down, especially in natural and artificial reefs. The deeper you go, the more likely you are to find an especially large one. Some of the amberjack will migrate, but many stay in the same area all year long.

Many people who go out fishing for snappers and groupers will find they catch a lot of amberjack in the process. While the former are typically more prized catches, amberjack are still a whole lot of fun, and you can quickly catch your fill of them! Here are some tips to keep in mind as you go out fishing for amberjack in Florida:

  • Tackle: If you’re targeting large, adult amberjack, you’re going to want to use more conventional fishing gear with 50 lb braid lines, or heavier. These fish don’t have teeth, so you don’t need to use wire leaders. Be prepared to pull hard to prevent them from taking control quickly.
  • Lures: Amberjack will gladly bite on metal jigs, including butterfly jigs and West Coast Iron. If you are able to lure them up near the surface with some chump, they’ll also take a variety of subsurface and topwater lures, including jerkbaits, spoons and plastics.
  • Baits: If you’re going the live bait route, you should have success with just about any decent-sized live baitfish—amberjack are not picky at all. Blue runners, pinfish and squid are all good options to choose from. You’ll find the amberjack are not hesitant to go after an easy meal.
  • Techniques: Amberjack will be most likely to bite down on lures or baits down deep, where they’re most likely to be camped out. However, you can sometimes use chum to convince them to come up to the surface, but this will not always be successful.
  • Location: The good news is that amberjack are pretty widespread, so you won’t have to find any particular “spot” to get the best results. The big ones are often found in the pacific, but the ones you catch in Florida will not be lacking for size at all!

For more information about amberjack fishing, contact our fishing charter in Sarasota, FL.

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