Huge Amberjack FIGHT

Huge Amberjack FIGHT

The reef donkey is without question one of the toughest pound-for-pound fighters ever to challenge even the strongest of men. The Amberjack is called reef donkeys because of its stubbornness to come to the surface. They will pull until their head comes over the rail. 
Greater Amberjack can be found in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. In the western Atlantic they are found from Nova Scotia to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean:

We are packed and ready for a 39 hour adventure deep into the very heart of the Gulf of Mexico. 

Let's go:

When Tammy talks, we listen:

When Tammy cooks, we eat:

Mr, John Martin, fishing coach on the Florida, is a proud Florida native who has been fishing Florida waters his entire life. This University of Florida graduate represents the epitome of Southern hospitality. He is always more than willing to share his vast knowledge. John is on virtually all Friday overnight trips.
Talk to John; he can make a good fisherman a great fisherman:

By our standards the Friday night bitr is slower than we would like... Regardless:


  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,922 Captain
    What a way to greet Saturday morning:

    Our fishing coach not only tells us how... He shows us!

    Nasty and wet:

    Not a problem:

    No telling what you are going to see out here:

    The action continues. Nice King:

    Talk about action... Ever fight a tuna?

    And we thought that Blackfin fought hard. 
    Think you are man/woman enough for this?

    It's been a long fish-catching, eating, sleeping night/day. 

    After a hot shower it's off to Tammy land:

    On the long ride home our bunks are our best friends:

    Early Sunday morning:

    Huge Amberjack FIGHT

    Catch the on-the-water video of our trip. Watch, 15:23 minutes into the video, Mr. Matt Norris, Lacoochee, Florida, battle the huge Amberjack: 

    Up next a very special 44 hour full moon trip.
    Snapper go a 'little' crazy during the full of the moon. 
    This was last year's August full moon catch:
    The 2019 August full moon is 8/15/19 @ 8:31 A.M. 
    We will be fishing all night Friday, and all day Saturday immediately after the full moon.
    This is going to be a good one!

    Mystery fish:
    This was spit-up by a porgy. Not sure I have ever seen one before:

    What an honor bringing our Florida to you:

  • Kokosing LoverKokosing Lover Posts: 678 Officer
    edited August 2019 #3
    Bob, I think you buried the lead on this post.  The amberjack are nice, but I'm more impressed by the size of those mangroves; that looks like a nice average size on this trip.
  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 13,081 AG
    That's a heck of an AJ.  Better him than me, lol.

    Nice mangos too, as KL noted.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,922 Captain
    Tanks guys, your input is greatly appreciated. 
    "The amberjack are nice, but I'm more impressed by the size of those mangroves; that looks like a nice average size on this trip."
    Know what you mean. We were fishing west of the Elbow in 200+ feet of water. They grow them big out there. That's deeper than we usually fish. Water was a lot cooler down deep; we thought it would give us a better chance for bigger fish. It did!
    Agree with you on being more impressed with the Mangos. They are really tricky, fun, to catch and much better eating than AJ's. And there is NO closed season.
    They put a smile on faces:

    Featured AJ's because the season is so short and that's what people want of see. 
    Leaving Madeira Beach at ten A.M. this Friday on a 44 hour full moon snapper trip. Will share!

    "Better him than me, lol."
    That's for sure. That monster was hooked on the bow & landed near the stern. Matt was absolutely give-out. 

    One thing I neglected to mention was the bait used...

    Anyone ever hear of catching huge AJ's on cut bait?  

  • SuperMutuSuperMutu Posts: 413 Deckhand
    Call me crazy but I have always wanted to catch one of those really giant size porgies.  I think it goes back to seeing them in stories in old FS articles when I was a kid. 

    Is there any particular area and bait they prefer?
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,922 Captain
    Not crazy at all. Porgy are abundant, no restrictions, fun to catch, and extremely good eating:
    This monster was so big he had to be gaffed, not gaff hole. 

    Area:  We catch plenty of them on just about any structures. The Middle Grounds and vicinity is loaded with porgies. 
    This one as most of the really BIG ones we have caught come from the Elbow.
    Bait: Will hit just about anything. Small pieces of cut squid works extremely well. 
  • Kokosing LoverKokosing Lover Posts: 678 Officer
    The big porgies, the really big ones, aren't seen as often as the more common red porgies and littlehead porgies.  The big jolt head porgies tend to be more solitary and don't form schools, so you rarely see more than one or two from a single spot.  The jolt heads seem to favor sparse hard bottom areas a lot like mutton snapper do.  Like most of the porgies, they'll prefer squid and crustaceans, but will still eat sardines and the like.  They are hard to target exclusively, but if the stern of the boat is over the heavier structure, go to the bow and cast around to find the sandy edge or low profile hard bottom on the edge of the spot; this is where most of the porgies will concentrate (along with any muttons that might be around).  I've learned this as much from scuba diving as fishing.  It's amazing to see all the muttons and big porgies hanging out on the sandy edge and foraging in the sand and ignoring most of the actual reef structure.

    They are really, really good eating.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,922 Captain
    Really good information.  Thanks! 
  • Alex from GAAlex from GA Posts: 1,412 Officer
    Your map doesn't have Baja; they're there.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,922 Captain
    "Your map doesn't have Baja; they're there."
    Thanks!  Good to know. 
    Went to Maine hunting years ago. Stopped in Portland to see what a small northern town near the sea was like. Stopped at a seafood marked. Their ice chest was loaded with porgies. Not sure what kind they were; looked the same as the ones we catch. 

    Porgies were the only fish I recognized. 
    Would love to know more about what seafood is available in different parts of the country. 
    Please share! 
  • lukkyracerlukkyracer Posts: 736 Officer
    I really don't want to mess with those ajs. I'm planning to do a grouper trip after that season closes on the hub2. Did a red snapper trip last month on that boat and it was really cool. The bite was very slow the last half of the trip, but Anthony and Rich worked hard to find fish. Some people were complaining about it, but obviously they aren't true fishermen. The fish don't always chew the bottom out the boat. Also, I caught a porgy, excellent blackened.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 3,922 Captain
    "I really don't want to mess with those ajs"   Know what you mean. 
    This is the only way I would eat one:

    "Anthony and Rich worked hard"  They always do. Have known both for many years; good, hard working, people who always give 100%.

     "but obviously they aren't true fishermen. The fish don't always chew the bottom out the boat"  No truer words have ever been said. 

    "I caught a porgy, excellent blackened."

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