By DARRELL PARCHMAN
© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 25, 2001
Deep-water springs and wrecks are great places to target this time of year. Most will hold schools of amberjack, a great battle for anglers. Live bait is a must to catch these fierce fighters. The bait of choice are blue runners, grunts and cigar minnows.
You need a heavy-duty grouper rod with at least 50-pound test line. Use a 5-ounce weight with a swivel at the end of your line. On the other end of the swivel, use a 4-foot leader of 60-pound test line with a No. 5 hook on the end of it. This will allow the bait to swim naturally.
Watch your bottom machine to determine the depth at which the amberjack are holding. It varies depending on the type of structure and water temperature. In 100 feet of water, you will find amberjack in the 65- to 80-foot range.
Once you've located a school of amberjack, toss a handful of chum over the side of the boat to get them feeding. Send down a live bait and hang on. Remember: Don't set the hook; wait until the amberjack has swallowed the bait; when the rod bends, reel. Don't jerk on the rod or you will pull the hook out of its mouth. Just reel.
- Darrell Parchman charters out of John's Pass and can be reached at (727) 946-3474 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.