--photo by Captain Troy Frady
Catching a big Greater Amberjack can be a lot of fun for any angler.
Greater Amberjack are also called Sea Donkey's in the northern Gulf of Mexico because the fight hard and give anglers one of the best fights of any reef fish.
Even though the scientific name for Amberjack is Seriola Dumerili, we simply just call them Jacks or AJ's. These reef fish are identified by a dark stripe that extends from their nose to through their eyes and up to their dorsal fin. When feeding agressively, this stripe lights up. The Dorsal Fin base is less than twice the length of the bottom fin base or anal fin. Amberjack live in 50 to 300 feet of water and are often high in the water colum. They run in packs like dogs and are often together and swim in schools. Amberjack eat other smaller fish that they can catch and a legal size 30 inch fork length fish weighs from 13 to 15 pounds. The Amberjack reach sexual maturity at about 35 inches fork length. Some of the largest Amberjacks caught off of Alabama's waters are 125 pounds.
The Greater Amberjack fishery is managed by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. It is the only fishery that came in under it's goals in 2011, which meant that anglers did not have to pay or give any fish back in 2012. The season is closed during June and July 2012 but that doesn't mean you can't go out and catch and release a few. Just be very careful not to stress these fish out when sea temperatures are warm. Sometimes, the bigger Amberjacks over 32 inches do not do well when released.