© St. Petersburg Times, published February 10, 2002
Last week was nature's way of reminding us that winter is not over. A promising beginning quickly tapered off after a week's worth of windy conditions.
Before it blew, Capt. Angelo LoGrande had a super Sunday of his own. Armed with a well full of live pinfish and grunts and a platoon of ballplayers he coaches at Lakewood High School, war was declared on amberjacks in 95 to 100 feet. Though it's not clear who won, they did capture a dozen or so from 35-40 pounds and one thug that tipped the scales at 42.
The biggest ones, especially, will do all in their power to yank you out of the boat and will wear you out all the way to the surface.
AJ fishing is not for crybabies. And if you've come to fight, better bring your big guns. They are bullies and not scared of 200-pound test braided line. To even the playing field, a 125-pound test leader and a 9/0 hook may help, even if amberjack do wrestle you to the wreck. A 6-foot, or even longer, leader keeps that annoying weight out of their face and helps if they do get a bit leader-shy.
If you go, wait until seas calm, then target springs, wrecks and reefs in 90 to 120 feet. Southwest of the Egmont channel seems the most productive.
-- Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.