Better get in shape! Amberjack is back on the catch list starting May 1

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

Now’s the time to start working on those arm and back muscles as amberjack recreational fishing season reopens on May 1 and will close at 12:01 a.m. June 1. 

According to the Gulf of Mexico Marine Fishery Management Council, what this means is the preliminary landings indicate the recreational amberjack quota has not been met or projected to be met allowing the recreational fishing season to reopen May 1. 

Clifton Amos shows off his 81.6-pound amberjack he caught on Day 1 of the Destin Fishing Rodeo in 2020. Amos caught the amberjack   aboard Into the Blue. Also pictured is Miss Destin 2020 Lauren Adams.

The fishery will close June 1 and remain closed through July 31. 

Amberjack is one of the hardest pulling fish, often referred to as a "reef donkey" because of its stubbornness.

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Anglers on the charter boat 100 Proof hooked up with about five amberjack on Friday that wore the fishermen out before they released them.

For those anglers not here in May, they will get another shot at catching one in the fall. The amberjack fishery will open back up on Aug. 1 and go until Nov. 1, making it available to catch for the October Destin Fishing Rodeo. 

The deckhands aboard the Finest Kind with Capt. Jason Mikel wait patiently to toss out their amberjack during an afternoon at the Destin Fishing Rodeo last October.

The minimum size limit for amberjack is 34 inches to the fork of the tail. Bag limit is one per person. 

The largest amberjack caught during the 2020 Destin Fishing Rodeo was an 84 pounder caught aboard the ChampionShip.