Best amberjack fishing gear

Capt. Hunter Caballero’s amberjack gear is no joke: stout, 7 ½-foot rods with Penn 30-wide reels carrying 200-pound braided line.

Backbone, unflinching drag system, line that can handle rough surfaces if a fish gets him into a rig — such is the making of a big jack whoopin’.

For terminal tackle, Caballero keeps it simple and efficient, with 5 feet of 200-pound monofilament leader, a 10/0 to 12/0 circle hook and 24 ounces of lead to take the rig down to where the fish live.The combination of braid and mono is important.

“When you’re fishing deep, braid gets down quicker,” Caballero said. “The mono allows just enough wiggle room because of the stretch.”

For amberjack bait, consider that these hulking gluttons bring big appetites and the ability to consume hefty meals. Caballero said big hardtails top the list of AJ baits for their hardiness and activity level.

Other effective options include mullet, threadfin herring and pogies.

“You can fish dead bait, but a live bait is going to get hit in 2 seconds, as opposed to waiting five minutes for the fish to eat a dead bait,” Caballero said.

About David A. Brown 323 Articles
A full-time freelance writer specializing in sport fishing, David A. Brown splits his time between journalism and marketing communications