Legal Gear: spears, gigs, hook and line, seine, cast net
Reef fish gear requirements apply
Habitat and Fishing Tips:
Amberjack are found throughout Florida’s offshore marine environment. The species is
very strongly associated with wrecks and artificial reefs in waters that exceed 60 feet in
depth. Amberjack swim in schools and feed on baitfish, squid and crabs. Anglers typically
use 50 to 100 pound tackle, but lighter tackle can also be used in many situations.
Amberjack are not shy or picky, so you can make all the noise you want, and almost any
lively baitfish will be readily accepted. Commonly used baitfish species include blue
runners, pinfish, pigfish, grunts, cigar minnows and sand perch. Because amberjacks like
to swim around above the reef, it’s a good idea to use just enough lead to keep the bait in
the middle of the water column. When amberjack get excited, they will also come to the
surface and explode on top-water plugs, jigs, spoons and diving lures. Amberjack are
extremely strong fighters with great endurance. To avoid lost or broken tackle, it’s important
to have the drag pre-set to match the strength of the angler and the equipment.
142 lb, caught near Islamorada
NOAA Fisheries service established a June 1 through July 31 seasonal closure for
recreational harvest of greater amberjack in Gulf of Mexico federal waters. The intended
effect of this closure is to maintain the rebuilding plan targets for the overfished greater
amberjack, reduce the likelihood of exceeding the recreational quota for greater amberjack,
minimize the length of in-season quota closures during peak recreational fishing months
and increase social and economic benefits for Gulf recreational fishers by maximizing the
number of fishing days available to the recreational sector.
The FWC ruled at the April 2011 Commission meeting to adopt a consistent closed
recreational season for greater amberjack from June 1 through July 31.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission • Farris Bryant Building
620 S. Meridian St. • Tallahassee, FL
32399-1600 • (850) 488-4676
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