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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'll be heading down to Orange beach the last week in March. I'm interested in catching some legal sized AJ's. My question is how deep do I need to be in order to target this size and do they hold pretty well on the reefs and tanks? I'm sure the reefs and tanks closest to the beach get hit the hardest so is it a safe assumption that the reefs and tanks furthest out will be the most productive?
 

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surprisingly close. given there's not much fishing pressure this time of year.
probably the Liberty ship, and there are 3-4 barges within about 10-15 miles.
us some live bait if you can get it.
 

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Don't forget about the new size length.
Someone told me it went up to 34 at the fork. Not sure about that for sure. But you should check to be sure.
You will have to go a minimum of 9 miles out of orange beach to find amberjacks of any size period. It will be 85-90 feet at the Allen reef


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Master of Disaster
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Don't forget about the new size length.
Someone told me it went up to 34 at the fork. Not sure about that for sure. But you should check to be sure.
You will have to go a minimum of 9 miles out of orange beach to find amberjacks of any size period. It will be 85-90 feet at the Allen reef


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30" fork length

Yea, I'd start looking about 80'-90' depth and out, like at the Allen, Rome, LULU, etc
 

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Master of Disaster
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It must have been a joke on the forum that I fell for. I have told several buddies about the new size limit yet I could not find anything about it on the net.
Jokes on me I think.


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Me too... Unless my GOM reg app didn't get the memo:001_huh: I looked on the web too after I saw that post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm surprised, I was thinking that I would have to go at least 15 - 20 miles out to get into the decent AJ's. That's good news to me since i've got a 22ft bay boat. I heard that AJ's prefer hardtails over other bait and I have also heard that it doesn't really matter what you throw at them they will probably bite?

I have gone high speed vertical jigging for them in NC but have never done it down here. I'm pretty excited. I'm just hoping that the weather cooperates for the few days i will be down.

I noticed that the most widely used rig is the 6 oz or so egg sinker with a long leader with a lively bait on the end. Do you let it sit on the bottom or do you real it up off of the bottom and drift?

Thanks for the input guys, i really appreciate the help.
 

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Bearded Brotula
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Amberjacks are going to 34".
 

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Bearded Brotula
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I have heard that the best live bait is mingos. Suspended about mid ways up the column.
 

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I noticed that the most widely used rig is the 6 oz or so egg sinker with a long leader with a lively bait on the end. Do you let it sit on the bottom or do you real it up off of the bottom and drift?

aj's are pretty easy to catch when you find them. vertical jigs is the tackle of choice but the last time i went out, they pretty much hit anything in front of them.
on the first drop, my friends were using verticals and i tried a whole frozen squid on a carolina looking for a grouper. 35" aj comes up. i tried a black and orange vertical and it felt like a keeper but when i handed to my friend, she let it get in the rigs. had a white bucktail with red eyes. bam. they were still biting. we got out limit.

jack
 

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I use my old cobia jigs that are a little tattered with a frozen treadfin or spanish sardine on the hook. drop it to the bottom and then slowly bring it back up toward the surface. Kinda like jigging but without the jerky workout.
 

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For jigging the high speed jigs (OTI, Butterfly, Flat Fall) are hard to beat. I always rerig the OTI jigs as the assist hook material and whipping won't last. Done right these type jigs will catch as much if not more than live bait. AND it's hard to beat that feeling when something knocks the crap out of it!

If you go to the rigs south of OB chances of getting legal size AJ's will greatly improve. If you want to catch & release them, a lot of reefs and wrecks will hold them, the tanks a little SW of OB often have them especially those on the south end.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have a small set of vertical jigs, some 110 and 90 centervortex and a 90 slidend. I'm thinking about getting a flat fall and 140 flat side. Do they prefer the larger or smaller jigs? Or does it just depend on the day?
 

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I have a small set of vertical jigs, some 110 and 90 centervortex and a 90 slidend. I'm thinking about getting a flat fall and 140 flat side. Do they prefer the larger or smaller jigs? Or does it just depend on the day?
As far as color and style is concerned I don't think the AJs care to much as far as knife jigs go. Some days I have had them hit certain colors better than others but as long as it's fast and shiny, they're gonna chase it. I've never fished for them out of OBA. Most of my jigging is done out of Destin from 180-350' of water.
 

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I usually go with the heavier jigs up to 300grams. I favor chartreuse, then silver. The mid size 168 gram free fall seem to work well too.

Fast retrieve, with side to side or figure 8 pattern works well, pay attention on the drop especially with the free falls.

A rod designed for jigging and reel with high speed retrieve, stout drag and can handle braid are all essential. I have a custom rod (80 # braid and 300g jig) with a big Saragossa spooled with 65 # braid and I use a 6-8 foot 80 # mono leader. I prefer spinning, though some of my fishing buds prefer conventional, Penn torque star drag, Shimano Torium or Torsa.
 

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That's good news to me since i've got a 22ft bay boat.

I'm just hoping that the weather cooperates for the few days i will be down.

I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but it's usually very difficult for me to get offshore in March in my 22' bay boat. It can be a windy month. Keep your plan A(J) but you may also want to develop an inshore plan B if you haven't already. For both our sakes, I hope it's less than one foot the whole time you're down here! Good luck!


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