Amber Jack season 2018 - Pensacola Fishing Forum

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Old 12-23-2017, 11:52 AM  
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Default Amber Jack season 2018

Getting ready for snapper in May and Amberjack. Got my snapper spots pretty well down....wondering if I can get to some AJ's without going a thousand miles off shore To be precise, the Mass in Pensacola pass. I know this is a very popular fishing spot, and I am just this year getting my way around. I know there will be a fleet out on any closer in spots. I can deal with it. NOGT asking for specific locations here, just a general question out to those familiar with that reef ( The USS Massachusetts) and whether or not folks pull and AJ's from there. I know the cobias go thru, the kings of course, and I believe it will hold snappers and grouper. Just interested in AJ's around that reef. Anyone ? TY and have a great Christmas and happy holidays.
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Old 12-23-2017, 12:06 PM  
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Not very likely, as in almost impossible. Some of the 9-15 mile reefs will have AJs on them but the vast majority will be undersize. IMO to have a decent chance at legal AJs, you really need to look 20+ miles out in water over 130ft deep.

Yes every once in a while someone catches a good one on the freighter but in general 20+miles, 130+feet, big structure, and live bait = AJ
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Old 12-23-2017, 12:51 PM  
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Originally Posted by DreamWeaver21 View Post
Not very likely, as in almost impossible. Some of the 9-15 mile reefs will have AJs on them but the vast majority will be undersize. IMO to have a decent chance at legal AJs, you really need to look 20+ miles out in water over 130ft deep.

Yes every once in a while someone catches a good one on the freighter but in general 20+miles, 130+feet, big structure, and live bait = AJ
I don't go offshore often, but in my experience, this is not true. Almost every time I have been at the freighter we have found good AJs, well over the legal size limit.

Maybe I have just been very lucky on the trips that I have been out there?
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Old 12-23-2017, 02:44 PM  
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Default Amber Jack season 2018

What dream weaver says is 100% spot on. I would say you have zero chance of an AJ at the Massachusetts of any size. As in, you could fish there every single day for 5 years and I would put money on it that you would not catch one there. I would wager your odds to be much higher of catching a sailfish, Blackfin tuna, tarpon, mahi, or even a wahoo at the Massachusetts over an amberjack. I used to fish offshore a lot, and concur with dream weaver. Deep water over 100', tall structure, and big live baits or butterfly jigs are the ticket. If I was going on a trip specifically to target big AJ, I'd probably run close to 60 miles offshore. Sure, there are legal ones closer, but if you want a sure shot at a 50lb plus jack you need to run deep. I like 200 ft or more.

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Old 12-23-2017, 03:34 PM  
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I don't go offshore often, but in my experience, this is not true. Almost every time I have been at the freighter we have found good AJs, well over the legal size limit.

Maybe I have just been very lucky on the trips that I have been out there?
you have been lucky... lol better AJ's are south.... there are legal AJ,s in state waters, but I dont waste time looking for BIG AJ's in state waters....
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Old 12-23-2017, 03:52 PM  
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EXCELLENT feedback troops !!!We will be looking for legal ( NOT trophy or bragging size, just legal for the freezer.) We'll never ( never say...) out in offshore. Farthest we will ever go will be in sight of land along the coast between Pensacola and Navarre. I was truly surprised to find red snapper of quite good size (26-28 inches) inshore in bay, and the gags (tho no legal size yet) . I understand the deep water big structure thing. And it's true for those nice AJ's . BUT...still hoping tpo find some legal size closer in somewhere. But hey, this is what I do. Get out and enjoy the day and look for new stuff. This will be our first season fishing the pass, and if that FLEET of fishing craft we saw earlier last month in the Pickens area is any indication, it will be crowded. BUT... ... when I see those boats I click my gps cuz it's my sign I found a spot. Then I just observe and take notes. TY again folks and Merry Christmas and happy holidays
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Old 12-23-2017, 11:20 PM  
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Idk much about the pensacola area.. but i scuba dive alot of wrecks out of Destin pass area and i generally see Ajs well over 40 pounds at just about every barge or shipwreck ive dove. Also i run charters out of Destin Harbor and my boat is only state licensed and i can and will tell you that we have never had an issue limiting out on amberjack at wrecks less than 6 miles from the pass. The secret ive found is to chum them to the surface and then use top water plugs or live baits to entice them to bite. Ive caught my biggest Aj that was 83 pounds 17 miles out on a shipwreck in 130 feet of water with a whole live bonita used as bait. Hang on tight!
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Old 12-24-2017, 07:19 AM  
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I got one on the I-10 rubble. I believe it was#2. I was actually trolling a ballyhoo messing around. It came up and took it back to the bottom. Hell of a fight. That's not to far out the pass.
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Old 12-24-2017, 07:38 AM  
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concur with above. not impossible to find one in state waters that is legal, however probably a rare shot.

big live baits and stout tackle.

catch 'em up.
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