Amberjack are one of the largest members of the jack family. They can grow to be almost six feet long and weigh nearly 200 pounds. Amberjack have a distinctively long body with a broad, flat head. Their back is a dark blue-green color, while their sides are lighter with a yellowish tinge. Amberjack can be distinguished from other jack species by the dark bars on their side and the spots on their dorsal (back) fin.
Amberjack are found in tropical and subtropical waters around the world. They are commonly found off the coast of Florida in the Atlantic and in the Gulf of Mexico. Amberjack prefer to inhabit reefs, wrecks, and other structures in deep waters. They can be found at depths of about 60 to 400 feet.
Amberjack are a challenging fish to catch due to their size and the structure they inhabit. Heavy-duty fishing gear is required to haul them in, either spinning or conventional. Amberjack can be caught on live or dead bait, as well as artificials. Common baits used for Amberjack include squid, cut bait, and large, live baitfish.
Amberjack are a notoriously hard fighting fish. They are very stubborn, and relentless pull back to depth. This stubborn nature has earned them the nickname "reef donkey," so make sure both the tackle and angler are up for a workout!
Amberjack are most commonly caught using bottom fishing techniques. Try different depths until you get a strike. On the artificial side, large jigging lures work well, again, fished deep.
Amberjack are considered to be good eating fish. They have a firm texture and a mild, sweet flavor. Amberjack can be prepared in a variety of ways, including grilled, baked, and smoked.