Top Amberjack Fishing Charters
It was great even though we had a little bad weather. The Captain was awesome and put use on fish right when we left. The deck hand was great and helped everyone out and kept us going. I would so use them again and again.
JAMES C. with Harold Staples of Destin, Florida
Raul and Captain Pepe were awesome! Captain Pepe is one of the best fishermen I've ever fished with and often fishes in large tournaments. We caught a marlin and mahi-mahi and later got the mahi-mahi prepared to eat at a restaurant. The only critique is Captain Pepe's English wasn't very good if you weren't talking about fishing, but regardless he knew everything there is to know about fishing. Highly recommend.
Nicolas P. with Raul Solis of Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur
Our trip with Gulf Bay charters with Captain Rick and his first rate deckhand Logan was fantastic. They put us on multiple fish of different types and we tried different methods, some trolling, a lot of bottom fishing and some deep water with electric reels. We caught a lot of large triggerfish, three King mackerels and enough Mingo (vermillion) snapper that we had far too much fish to eat over the next two days. The boat was fantastic, offering the six of us more than enough space to spread out and all fish at once, and Logan was knowledgeable and efficient at everything. I really enjoyed catching a small shark and we had a larger one steal some of our fish to add a little excitement. Near the end of the day we had a large amberjack up to the boat but unfortunately he got off. We played with a few barracuda as well, caught a few snapper and small groupers that we couldn't keep and in between spots, we could chat and I enjoyed learning about the local waters and the trade. I personally caught 22 fish and my son got 21 so we were busy. The weather was near perfect and Rick adeptly steered us around a small storm, where we got to see a waterspout. I would highly recommend Gulf Bay - we had a blast and really enjoyed getting to learn from a couple of true professionals. Thank you Captain Rick, thank you Logan!
mike c. with Rick Durant of Pensacola, Florida
Great trip. Captain Bryan was awesome.
Brady S. with Bryars Bishop of Orange Beach, Alabama
We had a great time with Nick. I love when a guide is so determined to get you on the fish that they’re almost stressed when they’re not biting. Nick refused to allow the fish to hide. He busted his butt to get everyone to their red snapper limit and we even ended up fishing a bit over the time we had allotted to make sure we had our best shot. We had a blast, and I would definitely recommend Nick. We’re going home with a cooler full of snapper, so that’s a win!
Brad L. with Nick Tate of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
Absolutely, hands down the BEST experience!! Captain Lee and crew were awesome, fun, and great with the boys!! If you don’t go with this crew, you are missing out.
Jodye S. with Lee Crisler of Galveston, Texas
My family and I had an awesome time with. Capt. Phil. The boat was clean and no fishy smell. He took us to a spot that has non stop action catching mahi mahi Dophin and a barracuda. He was friendly, super chill and an expert at sea. My kids love him. We definitely will ring him up next time we're in key west. Thank you! We had a blast at sea today.
Mimi L. with Mark Baumgarten of Key West, Florida
Captain Casey was very professional and knowledgeable. His 2 crew were very experienced, and his boat is a fishing machine. On our full day charter we experienced bad weather and had to cut the trip short. A minor leak in a tranny hose kept us from traveling at full speed on our return to the marina, so it took a little longer than expected. Casey offered us a free half day trip the following day, which i thought was a very professional way to handle this. Based on our short time in Cabo we couldnt take him up on this, so he reduced my fee to a half day charter. Again a very professional way to handle this. We didnt catch the fish we hoped for, but i have no issues with booking with Casey on my next trip to Cabo.
Dave E. with Casey Carter of Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur
Want to give a big, "Thanks!" to Jonathan Newer at Captain Experiences for hooking me and my family up with Captain Mike Segall and Daisy of Reel Threel Charter out of Surfside Beach, TX. Captain Mike took us right where the fish were right off the bat on our first stop where we caught our limit of red snapper including a 32", 22 pounder! We were also able to "rescue" some king fish out of the water as well. We thoroughly enjoyed our time deep sea fishing and look forward to our next outing with Captain Experiences and Reel Threel.
Brock P. with Mike Segall of Surfside Beach, Texas
This trip was amazing! Captain Lee really worked hard to get us on the fish. We caught fish all day long - red snapper, king fish and even a mangrove snapper. We had the best time. In my honest opinion, Captain Lee is the best and has my highest recommendation. It's money well spent if you haven't booked with him or maybe thinking about it, I say do it. He's great! A great time with a great captain and crew.
Jill B. with Lee Crisler of Galveston, Texas
Everything You Need to Know About Amberjack Fishing
What is an Amberjack?
While there are a number of variations and subspecies of amberjack, what remains true across them is their warm weather affinity and absolute pleasure to fight on the line. The most common types of amberjack you will hear about are the greater and lesser amberjacks of the Atlantic, and the yellowtail of the Pacific. They are all part of the greater jack / trevally family (Carrangidae) and are the biggest members of the family.
How big do Amberjack get?
The size you can expect depends of course on what type of AJ you are targeting. The greater amberjack is the largest of the jacks and are typically 20-40 pounds, although they can grow to fairly large sizes, being as long as 5 ft and up to 150 pounds. Greater amberjacks mature at around 4 years old and can live up 17 years, and females are known to live longer than males. Lesser amberjacks are usually under 10 pounds and yellowtails can be somewhere in the middle.
What's the biggest Amberjack ever caught?
The current IGFA world record AJ is a 156 pounder (and 13 ounces) caught off Japan in 2010. The biggest amberjack caught in Florida was caught in Islamorada at 142 pounds, and the Texas record is 121 lbs.
Where is the best place to catch Amberjack?
Amberjack can be found in warm temperate waters worldwide including California and Baja, Hawaii, South Japan, China, the Philippines, parts of the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf, and all over the Atlantic. Yellowtails are the most common in California and Australia. Greater AJs are particularly popular to catch in Florida and Kona, while yellowtails are the CA and Baja specialty.
In terms of habitat, juveniles will be in shallower water of up to 25 feet, often near floating objects and flotsam. Larger mature AJs are found offshore over reefs and wrecks or near rigs. They will often be 50 to 250 feet deep. In Florida you might be lucky enough to catch some swimming closer to the surface occasionally.
When should I catch Amberjack?
The warmer the water, the more amberjack will be around. This is why South Florida and the Keys are the perfect places to find them year-round. Fishing across the Gulf in Texas or further North will be most productive in the warmer spring, summer, and fall months although the season is closed in the Gulf states for the majority of the summer. The bag limit and size limit vary by state but are usually 1 AJ per person per day and minimum size of around 30 inches.
How do you catch Amberjack?
Amberjacks are prized for their fighting ability and these reef donkeys (as they are known) are powerful, pulling hard down to the bottom once hooked. They are known to never tire even upon reaching the side of the boat.
AJ tend to swim in groups at a young age but spread out as they mature, although you can occasionally still find groups of bigger AJ. They are also thought to spawn offshore throughout most of the year.
In terms of prey, amberjack will eat a wide variety, feeding on squid, fish, and crustaceans, and therefore all sorts of lures and baits as well (live, dead, plugs, jigs, spoons, flies, and more) as long as they are presented well. Feel free to jig reefs although know that the risk of getting torn off in the reef is high unless you pull the fish up quick and don’t let them gain any ground. It is better to try to lure them closer to the surface.
You’ll want to use heavy enough tackle (especially braided or monofilament line) to handle a big and hard-fighting fish - they are strong enough to be known for dragging anglers overboard!
Are Amberjack good to eat? What are the best Amberjack recipes?
Amberjack are known to have lean and firm white meat with a somewhat neutral taste. AJs can have ciguatera especially if they are bigger, or to have worms in their tail section, so it is best to cut off the back end of the fish. For safety the fish is better consumed cooked, and one of the most common ways to eat them is smoked and eaten as fish dip, which reduces safety risks and adds a little flavor. Yellowtail are a different story however, and are known as a quality raw fish - cut some up at the dock with some soy sauce and wasabi for a post-fish treat.