What to Know About Catching Amberjack

Amberjack are among the most popular targets for fishers on charter excursions in the southeastern United States. They put up a great fight, which makes for a fun challenge for avid anglers, and then taste great when smoked or grilled.

What can you do to improve your chances of actually reeling one in the next time you head out on a fishing charter in Pensacola, FL? Here are a few tips that can help you catch some amberjack.

Know when and where to catch them

The good thing about fishing in Florida is that you’ll be able to find amberjack pretty much all year round. The trick is knowing how they behave at certain times of the year. Some amberjack will stay put all year long, while others go through seasonal migrations for spawning purposes. Some amberjack that live in more northern areas like North Carolina or Georgia will come down to Florida to spawn in April and May, which makes those months particularly fruitful for amberjack fishers. However, you’ll be able to find them in Florida waters at just about any time of the year.

As for where to go, it’s a good idea to get a sense of the habits of amberjack that live in Florida. They very much enjoy living around structures, such as deep ledges, high artificial reefs, shipwrecks, rock piles and other underwater structures. Most amberjack spend the majority of their time between 60 and 240 feet deep, so you’ll need to get out into some deep waters with structures if you’re going to want to get after the largest fish.


Getting amberjack to bite isn’t all that difficult. In fact, the hard part is actually getting them onto the boat, and that is going to take some heavy-duty gear. They won’t tire out during the fight, so you’re likely going to need to struggle against them for up to a couple hundred feet to get them up to your boat.

Because amberjack are so strong and can even pull structures under, conventional tackle is going to be your best bet, but some particularly heavy spinning tackle could also be used. You’re going to want a heavy reel with an 80- to 100-pound test line, as well as a rod with a very strong backbone, especially if you’re going to be using spinning tackle. Spinning gear is best used if you are going to be able to chum the fish away from structures so you can prevent getting caught up on them when they pull down and away.

With conventional tackle, though, you’ll typically have greater leverage and will be able to use live bait or deep vertical jigs close to the structure. The good news, though, is that amberjack aren’t picky. They’ll go after pretty much everything.

Looking for more tips to help you have some success with your next amberjack fishing charter in Pensacola, FL? We encourage you to contact Entertainer Charters, LLC today. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have!