Amberjack — probably the hardest fighting fish in the ocean.
Also called AJs and locally “reef donkeys," amberjack are common in most large salt-water bodies of water. Here in the Canaveral / Cocoa Beach area, they can be found on most of the mid to deep water wrecks year round.
We fish for them using three different techniques. The most common is dropping a live bait (pinfish, croaker, spot). The jacks are usually suspended over the wrecks, so it requires a little bit of trial and error to correctly place the bait. Normally we drop to the bottom and then bring the bait up a certain number of cranks to get into the target area as seen on the depth finder.
While sending the live bait down, we will usually also drop down a 10 or 12 ounce butterfly jig. This works with fish suspended well up in the water column. The jig should be worked quickly with fast upward jerks of the rod.
Sometimes the jacks will come to the surface following a hooked fish. In that case we
try to keep them there by tossing out live baits with no hooks in them. This keeps them in the feeding mood. Free-spooling back a live bait back on a bottom rod will usually generate a hook-up.
If you would like to try on a battle with one of these bruisers, feel free to contact us or check out more information on our website.
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