We spent 15 minutes on the phone with Capt. Tucker Blythe to discuss popping top water soft baits for Amberjack with the Hogy HDUV Jiggin' Eel Tails off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina. Here's what we learned...
Location: Offshore Charleston, SC
Approach: What I look for when Amberjack fishing is a combination of the right water temperature and high profile structure. South Carolina is littered with artificial reefs and wrecks in all different water depths. In the Spring and Fall, Amberjacks will move into more shallow water in search for food. I will target structure in 45-60 ft during this time. In the summer and winter, these fish will move further offshore following the baitfish and water temperature. 70ft to 90ft is generally where they will be found then. Once a reach my area of structure I will pay close attention to the depth finder as I drive over wrecks or high relief ledges. A school of Amberjacks will light up the whole screen with arches. These fish are big predators and will take a large offering.
Rigging Selection: 12/0 Barbarian Swim Bait Hook
Bait Selection: Hogy HDUV Jiggin' Eel Tail Series
Why This Bait? I prefer to use the 13″ Jiggin'/Poppin' rigged with a 12/0 Barbarian Swimbait hook or the weighted grip hook when they are on the surface and switch to a 2oz Barbarian Jig Head when they are deep. Usually they are curious and will surface upon your arrival to check you out. Teasing them into a frenzy will get them into feeding mode. You can do this by using an oversized popper without hooks or simply thrash your rod tip in the water in a figure 8 motion. Once they go into a frenzy, you can’t keep them off the Hogys.
Colors: Bubblegum would be my number 1 choice followed by bone and black
Retrieve: Fast and Furious creating as much surface disturbance when using topwater rigged Hogys. With the darter heads, I drop all the way to the bottom then jig and reel fairly quick back toward surface, if you don’t get bit by the time you see your bait with no followers drop back down and repeat.
Rod: 7′ Fast Action Heavy St Croix Tidemaster.
Reel: Shimano Stradic FJ 6000 or 8000
Line: Powerpro 40#
Leader: 2-3 ft of 60# Fluorocarbon