The amberjack is one of the more popular Atlantic game fish, especially for people trying out deep water fishing for the first time on a charter fishing trip. There are a few species in the Atlantic that you’re likely to encounter if you’re using the right amberjack bait in Sarasota, FL:
- Greater amberjack: The largest of the amberjack varieties, they’re easily identified by the dark stripes that run from the nose to just in front of the dorsal fins. They’ll usually come in at 40 pounds or less.
- Lesser amberjack: The lesser amberjack has bigger eyes and a deeper body than the greater. They’re a brownish-black or olive-green color, and usually have silver sides. You’ll see a dark stripe that runs upward from the eyes. If it is a juvenile, it will have split bars or wavy lines running along the sides. They’ll usually weigh about 10 pounds or less.
- Banded rudderfish: Another type of amberjack, it is distinguishable by having a first dorsal fin, and dark bands that run from the eye to that first dorsal fin. It also has six bars on the body that are easily noticed. They’re smaller, usually less than 11 inches long, and not very heavy at all.
For the most part, these amberjack species all showcase the same sorts of behavior, so you should approach fishing for them in the same ways. Here’s a quick overview of their typical behavior and the methods you should use when angling for them.
What do amberjack like to eat?
Amberjack in Sarasota, FL are most commonly located in waters deeper than 60 feet where there are wrecks or artificial reefs, though you can find them around natural reefs as well. They swim in schools, and have a natural diet of squid, baitfish and crabs. This means you should focus on using baitfish species as your bait when fishing for amberjack. Common selections include blue runners, pigfish, pinfish, cigar minnows, sand perch and grunts.
Ultimately, amberjack aren’t very picky—they’ll go after just about any live bait, and won’t be scared away by loud noises. This means you don’t have to worry about quieting down a boat engine, or keeping people quiet on the boat.
You may also have some luck with certain types of lures, but amberjack are known to prefer live bait. If you do wish to try a lure, you should go with spoons and flies.
In any case, it is recommended you use a 50- to 100-pound tackle when angling. While light tackle can be used, heavier tackle will help you stand up to the fight better, because amberjack have some power and force behind them along with excellent endurance. Heavier tackle will help you avoid lost or broken equipment.
Interested in learning more about deep water fishing and how to bring in an amberjack? We encourage you to contact Charter Boat Shark at our fishing charter in Sarasota, FL. Schedule your first deep water fishing excursion and go out to bring in an amberjack yourself!
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