How to Fish Amberjack in Chesapeake Bay

How to Fish Amberjack in Chesapeake Bay
Amberjack is a hard-fighting gamefish popular with anglers fishing Chesapeake Bay between Maryland and Virginia. Plan on chartering a boat if you seek amberjack. You'll need a vessel to reach areas where this fish can be found anywhere from to 60 to 250 feet below the surface. The charter boat captain should know the seasonal hot spots and the best techniques for catching amberjack, including the steps outlined here.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Heavy duty saltwater rod and reel spooled with 50-pound test line.
  • Boat for accessing deep water
  • Tackle and lures
Step 1
Plan your fishing trip between June and September, peak season for amberjack.
Step 2
Fish for amberjack around deep structures such as submerged debris and shipwrecks where baitfish are schooling.
Step 3
Use 6-12 ounces of sinker weight and live bait, especially small croakers weighing less than 1 pound to fish for amberjack. Hook the croaker behind the dorsal fin and below the spine so you won't paralyze the bait. The extra weight gets your rig into the depths of the bay where amberjack lurk.
Step 4
Try jigging with artificial lures when live bait is unavailable or isn't producing amberjack. Use soft, plastic baits that resemble shrimp and baitfish, bouncing them off the bottom.
Step 5
Head southeast of Rudee Inlet, south of Virginia Beach. The bay area just below Rudee Inlet is a productive area for amberjack.
Step 6
Use depth finders and fish finders. Young amberjack (under 10 pounds) congregate in large schools, but big amberjacks swim in small groups.

Tips & Warnings

Book your trip early, as peak season coincides with the peak tourist season in the nearby Virginia Beach resort area.

Article Written By James Clark

James Clark began his career in 1985. He has written about electronics, appliance repair and outdoor topics for a variety of publications and websites. He has more than four years of experience in appliance and electrical repairs. Clark holds a bachelor's degree in political science.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.