Considering an offshore fishing trip in Venice, LA this winter? Awesome. One of the prized big-game fish you can expect to see (and catch!) is beautiful amberjack, an Atlantic and Pacific fish of the Carangidae family (genus Seriola). There are many types of amberjacks, including greater amberjacks (Atlantic), lesser amberjacks (Atlantic), Almaco jack (Pacific), yellowtail (Pacific), and the banded rudderfish (Atlantic). Here we will focus on the greater amberjack as that is primarily the species found off the coast of Venice, LA.
Habitat: Greater amberjack are found Gulf wide, nearshore waters and depths of 300 feet or deeper. They are typically found closer to land near reefs, wreckage, artificial reefs in the southern part of the Gulf and in deeper waters near oil rigs and gas platforms in the northern part of the Gulf.
Identification: The greater amberjack is the largest amongst the jack species with an average weight of twenty to fifty pounds, reaching up to 170 pounds. They are silver-blue in color with a golden side line and dark amber stripes extending from their nose to the front of their dorsal fins. Unless it is a large species, they are very often confused with several other species. One way to distinguish greater amberjack is with their gill rakers (finger-like extensions projecting forward from the front gill arch), the length of the anal fin base, and the number of spines and rays in the dorsal fin. Greater amberjacks have 11-19 gill rakers, a long anal fin base, 7 dorsal fin spines, and 30-34 dorsal fin rays.
Behavior & Fishing Tips: Amberjack are fast-swimming fish, well-known in the sports fishing arena as one of the greatest fighting fish pound for pound. They are aggressive predators that travel both solo and in small groups prowling the water column for a wide variety of fish such as herring, scads, and little tunny. Amberjack are not shy or picky, so while fishing you can make as much noise as you want and use almost any kind of live baitfish – blue runners, pinfish, pigfish, grunts, cigar minnows, sand perch, to name a few. Because of their tendency to swim above the reef, use just enough lead to keep the bait in the middle of the water column. When amberjack get excited, they will come to the surface and explode on top-water plugs, jigs, spoons, and diving lures. In anticipation of a good fight and to avoid having lost or broken tackle, it’s important to have the drag pre-set to match the strength of the angler and the equipment.
Food Value: Amberjack are an extra lean, white meat fish with a firm texture and mild flavor.
Are you ready to go up against the prized greater amberjack? Give us a call to schedule your next offshore chartered fishing trip in Venice, LA!