How to Catch Amberjack on the Gulf Coast


Amberjack are large, powerful fish and are known for their aggressive style of fighting. Once hooked, anglers are in for an exhausting battle to land them. Your best chance of catching amberjack is 40 to 100 miles off the Gulf Coast in the United States. A good lure to use for amberjack is a jig. If you don't have a sea vessel of your own, or not an experienced boatman, hire an offshore fishing charter company and check out for yourself the thrill of catching amberjack.

Things You'll Need

  • Fishing charter services or your own boat
  • Fish finder
  • Deep-sea fishing rod (10- to 12-foot)
  • Two-way swivel
  • 1-foot plastic or metal bar
  • 1½-foot metal leader
  • 18 to 24 inches metal leader
  • 1-ounce white hair jig
  • 1/16 ounce yellow jig

Jigging for Amberjack

  • Hire a fishing charter service, or use your own boat. If you are using your own boat, use a fish finder to assist in pinpointing where striper schools are traveling. Amberjack prefer deep water and the fish's migration patterns continuously change, which leads them to moving around the Gulf Coast waterways.

  • Position your boat over an amberjack school, drop anchor and allow the boat to drift with the current. Generally, charter boat captains also will do this.

  • Select a thick and long rod. When fishing for amberjack, it’s important that you use a thick, long rod. According to the website Florida Sportsman, anglers should use a 10- to 12-foot deep-sea rod when fishing for amberjack. It’s not the length of the rod, but the thickness of the rod that is important. Anglers don’t want their rods to snap, when trying to hoist 40-pound amberjack into their boats.

  • Make a jig rig. A deadly jigging rig for amberjack is made up of a two-way swivel that consists of a 1-foot lightweight plastic bar, with swivels attached to the both ends of the bar. The bar is sequentially connected to your main line. Attach a 1½-foot metal leader line to the end of one of the swivels. The other swivel, you will connect an 18- to 24-inch metal leader. This design has a two-lure approach that gives the allusion of 2-baitfish, swimming within close approximation to each another.

  • Add a white 1-ounce hair jig to the longest 18- to 24-inch metal leader. Attach a smaller 1/16 ounce yellow jig to the 1½-foot leader. The two different color jigs give amberjacks two choices to strike. Yellow jigs work well in cloudy water, and white-haired jigs work best in clear water. In most cases, amberjacks strike the color white, as it resembles sardines, a favorite of amberjack, according to the website Game and Fish Magazine.

  • Drop the rig into the water; let it sink to the bottom. Reel the line in six-inches to a foot, with brief pauses throughout the process. Additionally, move your rod tip up and down, to make the jigs dance about in the water. Continue reeling, until the rig reaches your rod tip or upon receiving a strike. Be guarded for a strike that will bend your rod almost 90-degrees straight down.

  • Set the hook and let the fish run, while you utilize the drag on your reel. Give an amberjack plenty of leeway as amberjacks have tremendous power and can swim extremely fast when hooked, according to the website Game and Fish Magazine.

  • Drag the amberjack toward the boat, once it is exhausted. Use a gaff to hook the side of the amberjack, and lift it into the boat.

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