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Amberjack in the Gulf verse the Atlantic and worms..

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  • 1 Post By Fatherof4

Amberjack in the Gulf verse the Atlantic and worms..

Old 03-19-2019, 10:56 AM
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Default Amberjack in the Gulf verse the Atlantic and worms..

Used to fish out of Miami and keys as a kid (pre 90's) and when we caught an Amberjack we would always release them. Dad said they were always full of worms. Fast forward, I moved to the Gulf coast, Ft Myers and we keep them, often times they don't have many worms if any. Last year we caught a nice one in the Keys, I kept it and WOW it was completely full of worms, felt bad but threw the fish away, it was that full of them. Just curious as to why on the Atlantic they are full of worms but on the gulf side not such the case?
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Old 03-19-2019, 11:02 AM
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They're not. I have caught plenty in both bodies of water that run the gamut form completely free of worms to totally ate up with them . Your sample size is too small to draw the larger conclusion.
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Old 03-19-2019, 11:14 AM
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I release amberjack. They’re all nasty.
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Old 03-19-2019, 11:59 AM
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I concur with OP. Used to fish out of mayport/Jax and every time we tried to keep one to eat it was so full of worms that it would end up getting thrown out. Now fish in big bend region of gulf almost exclusively and the ones I've kept from there had no worms to speak of. Not a very large sample size but results have been extremely consistent.
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Old 03-19-2019, 12:27 PM
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I don't keep many, especially with the closed seasons now, but when I do it will be as small as the minimum size allows.

Usually the worms are just in the tail meat while the "shoulder" meat is usually clean.

I haven't caught enough from the Atlantic side to compare.
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Old 03-19-2019, 12:49 PM
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I also agree with the OP's experience. Gulf AJs generally worm free, Atlantic AJs usually have them, though not always. Not sure why. We cut around them and still get plenty of meat for the smoker.
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Old 03-20-2019, 12:01 PM
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The worms are good eats. Olive oil and garlic and saute on a pan! I fish in SE Florida and Bahamas and I have caught some smaller ones that were worm free but very few. Interesting that you dont have that problem in the Gulf. I wonder if its water temp related
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Old 03-20-2019, 12:10 PM
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we get em in every NC amberjack/almaco jack -- mostly concentrated in the tail and any stragglers you can gently pull out. Make sure your wife doesn't watch you filet. Amberjack is some damn good eating. I wouldn't keep an AJ over 20lbs though, its going to be riddled with em
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Old 03-20-2019, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by porcha View Post
we get em in every NC amberjack/almaco jack -- mostly concentrated in the tail and any stragglers you can gently pull out. Make sure your wife doesn't watch you filet. Amberjack is some damn good eating. I wouldn't keep an AJ over 20lbs though, its going to be riddled with em
Agree with this. Tend to release the bigger ones, but, smaller ones, cooked on the grille, I really like them fresh.
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Old 03-20-2019, 01:45 PM
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Agree with your conclusion and have always had the same question. Iíve caught hundreds of AJís off mayport & st aug and all had worms. Been grouper fishing several times out of cedar key and kept a few with no worms. Was very surprised that the gulf fish were descent table fare.
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Old 03-21-2019, 06:30 AM
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Have seen a few worms towards the tail in the gulf amberjack we catch. The rest of the meat is clean and really good tablefare. It doesnít freeze well so we just eat it fresh.

Red grouper is always full of worms that we have to pull out with knives and tweezers and then cook the hell out of it before Iíll touch it. Iíd take amberjack over red grouper any day.
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Old 03-21-2019, 06:40 AM
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Like others have said, I have no problem pulling a few worms or cutting the tail off, but the one we caught out of Key Largo, no way you could get any meat through the worms. I was shocked the fish looked that good with the amount of worms in the fish. I catch and keep a few big ones every year from the gulf and either grill (fresh caught) or use the meat for chowder and I like it. Thanks all for confirming my observations, still wonder why it is like this.
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Old 03-21-2019, 06:46 AM
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We fish the northern GOM out of MS. We always keep AJs and have never found any worms.
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