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Amberjack will make you work


© St. Petersburg Times, published February 15, 2002

If you're looking for something powerful to pull your drag this weekend, look no further than amberjack.

If you're looking for something powerful to pull your drag this weekend, look no further than amberjack.

Head to the offshore springs and wrecks at 95-100 feet. AJs in the 40-pound class mean business, so bring heavy gear. You will need 100-pound line and 125-pound leader. Bluerunners, angelfish and bee-liners are prime baits and they won't last long once they're dropped. Hook baits with a 8/0 or 9/0 hook above the anal fin and hang on. Grouper and snapper are stealing bait at 50 feet. For grouper, arm yourself with the lightest gear possible to get more bites. Thirty-pound line and 50-pound leader will do the job on most fish, but it's not a bad idea to have a rod rigged with 50-pound line and 80-pound leader. Cut squid and sardines are great choices for dead baits, with live pinfish and bluerunners perfect live choices. Snapper fishing also should be done with the lightest tackle possible. Twenty-pound line and 40-pound leader is a good start. Fluorocarbon leader is a smart idea. Dress up a 2/0 hook with cut squid or live shrimp. Shad and sardines work well for snapper.

Inshore, sheepshead are ready to clean your hook if you're not properly prepared. Medium/heavy tackle in the 20-pound range is best. Once hooked, sheepshead need to be pulled out of lairs before they wrap your line around a piling or rock.

-- Captain Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters in St. Petersburg, (727) 510-4376 or email


(All phone numbers begin with 727 unless noted)

TUESDAY: Cockroach Bay Users Group meeting, Bahia Beach Marina Yacht Club, Ruskin, (813) 634-5592. TUESDAY: Spring Hill Fishing Club meeting, Senior Citizens Hall, Susan Drive, Weeki Wachee, (352) 592-8688. WEDNESDAY: Tampa Bay Fly Fishing Club meeting, Tampa Palms, 866-8682. THURSDAY: Saltwater Fly Fisherman monthly meeting, Clearwater, 443-5000.


SATURDAY: Fly-casting, World Class Outfitters, (813) 968-3736

SATURDAY: Fly-casting, Saltwater Fly Fisherman, Clearwater, 443-5000.

WEDNESDAY: Fly-casting, women only, Saltwater Fly Fisherman, Clearwater, 443-5000. WEDNESDAY: Spring king mackerel fishing with Larry Mastry, Bleacher's Sports Bar, St. Petersburg, Coastal Conservation Association Pinellas County Chapter, 822-5915. WEDNESDAY: Spring inshore fishing tactics with Dan Hicks, Holy Mackerel Tackle, Pinellas Park, 547-9889. WEDNESDAY: Wintertime flats fishing with Woody Gore, Minnows and Monsters Tackle, Tampa, (813) 835-1512. THURSDAY: Snook fishing with Don Mason, West Marine, St. Petersburg, 343-1765.


TUESDAY: Safe-boating course, St. Petersburg, 898-8774. WEDNESDAY: Boating skills and seamanship course, Tampa, (813) 835-4118. THURSDAY: Safe-boating course, Madeira Beach, 587-7873. THURSDAY: Safe-boating course, St. Pete Beach, 867-3088


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