Amberjack Season Is Upon Us! Here’s What You Need to Know

August 23, 2019

Amberjack season has arrived! This is one of the most popular game fish for people who come out and join us on our fishing charter because it is a great introductory saltwater fish at a larger size. Before you schedule your trip for amberjack fishing in Sarasota, FL, here’s what you should know about the fish and how to angle for it.

Identifying the fish

How do you know if you’re dealing with amberjack? They’re typically easily identifiable by a dark stripe on the head that runs from the first dorsal fin through the eye. The back of the fish is a blue or olive sort of color, and the sides are a bright silver to white. There may be an amber or pink hue to the belly.

These fish are found all over the world, in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea. They’ll generally be found around reefs, rock outcrops and wrecks. They spawn from March through July when they reach five years of age, and can reach sizes of up to six feet long and nearly 200 pounds. They’re predators that eat mostly other fish, crab and squid, and are not intimidated by divers—they’re actually quite friendly. You’ll generally find them in relatively small groups, versus the larger schools common among other fish species.

Recreational fishing regulations

If you’re going fishing for amberjack in Sarasota, FL, you’re going to be subject to a limit of one per person per day or one per person per trip, whichever is more restrictive, with a size limit of at least 28-inch fork length. Any amberjack you catch must be landed with fins and head intact. You are also required to use dehooking tools when fishing for any type of grouper or snapper species, which includes amberjack.

When fishing, you must use non-stainless steel circle hooks (either offset or non-offset) for fish of this species, assuming you’re at a latitude north of 28 degrees N. You are not allowed to sell any amberjack you catch as a recreational fisher.

The good news is that any time you head out on a charter fishing excursion, your guide will know all of the regulations associated with recreational fishing, so you’re not going to have to worry about them at all. All of the gear you use will adhere to the restrictions set by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and other governing bodies’ fishing regulations.

There are different regulations that affect commercial amberjack fishers, but again, if you’re going to be on a charter fishing trip, you’re not going to have to worry about those regulations because your trip will qualify as a recreational fishing excursion.

Are you interested in learning more about fishing for amberjack in Sarasota, FL before you come down and join us for your next saltwater fishing excursion? If so, contact the team at Charter Boat Shark at and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have. We look forward to seeing you soon!

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