- Olive green or brownish back and silver sides
- Dark stripe from nose to front of dorsal fin that “lights up” when fish is in feeding mode
- Anal fin is about 2/3 the length of the second dorsal fin
- 11-19 gill rakers present on each gill arch
- No scutes (bone-like projections) on body
Size: Up to 60 inches (176 pounds); common around 40 inches and under 40 pounds
Similar Species: Other jack species
Offshore species associated with rocky reefs, debris and wrecks, typically in 60 to 240 feet of water. Sometimes caught nearshore in south Florida. Juveniles associate with floating objects and may occur in water less than 30 feet deep.
Largest of the jacks. Thought to spawn offshore throughout most of the year. Feed on squid, fish, and crustaceans.
Fishing Tips: 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.
State Record: 142 lb, caught near Islamorada
Image Credit: © Diane Rome Peebles