Family: Carangidae

Description: A dark stripe (variably present) extends from nose to in front of dorsal fin and “lights up” when fish is in feeding mode, no scutes, the soft dorsal base less than twice the length of the anal fin base.

Similar Fish: Other species in the Seriola genus

Where found: Greater amberjack are an offshore species associated with rocky reefs, debris, and wrecks. They are typically in 60 – 240 feet of water and sometimes caught nearshore in south Florida. Juveniles are associated with floating objects and may occur in water less than 30 feet deep.

Size: Common to 40 pounds

*Florida Record: 142 lbs, caught near Islamorada

Remarks: Great amberjacks are the largest of the jacks.  These fish are thought to spawn offshore throughout most of the year.  They feed on squid, fish, and crustaceans.


Minimum Size Limits: 34” Fork Length (Gulf State Waters)

Daily Bag Limit: 1 Per Person

Gear: spears, gigs, hook and line, seine, cast net

Fishing Tips: Amberjack are found throughout Florida’s offshore marine environment. The species is very strongly associated with wrecks and artificial reefs in waters that exceed 60 feet in depth. Amberjack swim in schools and feed on baitfish, squid and crabs. Anglers typically use 50 to 100 pound tackle, but lighter tackle can also be used in many situations. Amberjack are not shy or picky, so you can make all the noise you want, and almost any lively baitfish will be readily accepted. Commonly used baitfish species include blue runners, pinfish, pigfish, grunts, cigar minnows and sand perch. Because amberjacks like to swim around above the reef, it’s a good idea to use just enough lead to keep the bait in the middle of the water column. When amberjack get excited, they will also come to the surface and explode on top-water plugs, jigs, spoons and diving lures. Amberjack are extremely strong fighters with great endurance. To avoid lost or broken tackle, it’s important to have the drag pre-set to match the strength of the angler and the equipment.