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Amberjack Rigs?

Old 08-29-2019, 04:22 PM
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Location: Coastal NC
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Default Amberjack Rigs?

Hey guys, I have caught the occasional large amberjack on a vertical jig while blackfin fishing. While I don't enjoy eating them, they do provide some fun pullage. I would like to target some of them that we see while diving on the towers and wrecks. I can't always get them to bite a jig. I have heard that small, live bluefish work well. What is your favorite rig to use for live bait amberjack fishing?
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Old 08-29-2019, 04:41 PM
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Ballyhoo on a Carolina rig has worked fine for me. Get it down deep as fast as ya can.
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Old 08-29-2019, 11:23 PM
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I like to drift a 10/0 circle hook on a grouper rig with a whole squid. Usually keeps the small ones away and I can almost guaranty some big reef donkeys every trip.

You said you don't like eating them... I think they are great. My favorite is to cut them into chunks and deep fry them for fish bites. If you can get past the idea of the worms in the tail (i always cut them out) they are some really good table fare.
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Old 08-30-2019, 02:19 AM
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In the past chum them up to the top with live Menhaden , cast a big topwater into the crowd & hold on......ICM
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Old 08-30-2019, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Ice Cream Man View Post
In the past chum them up to the top with live Menhaden , cast a big topwater into the crowd & hold on......ICM
this is what we do. if they won't hit the plug throw a menhaden out with a hook in it. AJ's have pretty good eye sight so if they're finicky you might have to use fluorocarbon for your leader.
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Old 08-30-2019, 05:46 AM
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Thanks guys. Topwater sure sounds like fun and there are plenty of menhaden around here right now. I'll try it today.
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Old 08-30-2019, 06:17 AM
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When we target AJs we fish around the inlet for croaker and spot. Put them in the livewell and then on a 9 or 10/0 circle hook. Pull up to tower and pitch them in and they don’t last long, trick is keeping the amber jack away from tower legs. We use bluefin jigging set ups. They seem to like lively croaker around 10” the best.
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Old 08-30-2019, 11:13 AM
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I think during the spring and fall. It is a lot easier to catch AJs on jigs because of the cooler water. They are more sluggish during the summer. I would go with the other guys suggestions of getting 'em fired up on live bait and catching them on topwaters if you are trying to do it in the summer.
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Old 08-31-2019, 07:11 PM
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Go to ANY bottom fishing spot. Use ANY bait. Catch ANY bottom fish. Reel sloooowly. Bang! Amberjack.
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Old 09-01-2019, 04:25 PM
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If you get it past the sharks
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Old 09-02-2019, 05:02 AM
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Another artificial option are 10" Z-man Heroz body on a 3 oz Zman or other jig head. For some reason they seem to love them.
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Old 09-02-2019, 05:54 AM
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Fish for something else...I've found that's how I catch most of my AJs...; )

If I were to target them specifically Id follow the large single hook advice above with Live bait. I would also try one or two on a downrigger.

When trolling and I see them marked on the fishfinder down deep I've stopped the boat, let the baits sink, then drop back into gear...that's been prettty effective...
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Old 09-03-2019, 07:16 PM
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I have caught them trolling a Macahoo with a ballyhoo. They make great grilled/blackened tacos. I don't let the Admiral see me clean the fish....she loves them.
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