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A guy in CC told me on my next trip I shoud bring some big topwaters for AJ at the rigs. Was he crazy or is this even possible? Arent AJs associated with deep water?


Kevin
 

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it's possible IF the AJ come to the surface.
I have seen BIG AJ follow my bait all the way to the surface.
 

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I've never caught an AJ on a topwater, but like Minnow, I too have seen AJ's chasing my Red Snappers to the surface, as well as baits. It's awesome to see four 60lb AJ's fighting over your Red Snapper as you reel him in!

Now it would be a blast to fish AJ on topwater!!! That would be right up there with YFT on the poppers.


Tom - DeepBlueGulf
 

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The biggest AJ I ever saw was on the surface. Huge 80lb+ plus fish. I would be afraid of breaking off a fish with one of my plugs. It would be exciting though. I may would try that over the Gardens. In fact, I will try that next time. It would be cool. It would also be cool to hook a grouper up top when fishing the Gardens.
 

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Ive seen AJ's at the surface but they were following a Ling that I hooked. They were acting like they were pissed at the Ling for eating their food. One time they got close enough to the boat that we were thinking about freegaffing them..
 

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AJ's aren't always on the bottom. Most scuba divers that jump off at the rigs will tell you that AJ's work the depth column. They've told me that the AJ's will follow your weighted live bait to the bottom to have dinner. I've never seen them feeding on the surface but like others stated above, they will follow your snapper to the top.

Fonz, I've free gaffed a big ling before and it was something I won't forget. Don't attempt unless you are one mean SOB.
 

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I've seen AJs at the surface and have heard of folks slaying them on cedar plugs and even mirrorlures. I haven't personnally done it but I've heard that commercial fisherman prefer to get them up to reduce handling time between hookups. I know from my own experiences that they almost always follow a hooked fish up to about 15-20 ft below the boat.
 

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that was covered up with AJ's. fish every drop on everything (I even watched one eat the egg weight on a live bait rig. Just for fun we tried top waters. lets just say that by the end of the day none of our lures had hooks on them. they had all been torn out by fish. But we didn't care. we were having contests to see who could get their lure back to the boat without a hit.

-CP
 

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that was covered up with AJ's. fish every drop on everything (I even watched one eat the egg weight on a live bait rig. Just for fun we tried top waters. lets just say that by the end of the day none of our lures had hooks on them. they had all been torn out by fish. But we didn't care. we were having contests to see who could get their lure back to the boat without a hit.

-CP
what bridge was that. the one crossing mobile bay or over near fort morgan?
 

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2 or 3 years ago we caught some AJ on poppers at the floaters, Boom Vang I think. They were hanging close to the rig and you could see them chasing your lure. That year was the only time I heard of them being there.
 

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I agree with the Pope. I've had jack crevalle tear the paint of every cheap lure in my tacklebox. AJs don't have big enough teeth to do that, though they could break small hooks intended for trout. However, I've never seen them closer than about 9 miles from shore in the Eastern GOM, though if the water was deeper, say 50ft or more, and there was structure like a sunken bridgespan, they'd find a way to get there.
 

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I am new at the quest for AJ. Will they hit dead bait as well as live? Everything I am reading on here states that they pretty much prefer live bait or jigs. What type of jigs work best?
 

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I am new at the quest for AJ. Will they hit dead bait as well as live? Everything I am reading on here states that they pretty much prefer live bait or jigs. What type of jigs work best?

I've caught a few on cut bait but they were undersized.
Big AJ really want BIG live baits and it takes serious drag to keep them out of the rigs. As to which jigs work best depends on the day and the AJ.
 

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We ussually bait a whole dead squid. Run the hook throught the top and agian in the bottom. Then just drop it down.
 

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. . . big topwaters for AJ at the rigs. Kevin


If you mean to catch them, expect to straighten a lot of hooks. Most large topwaters (8", 4oz; all brands) are sold w/ hooks inadequate for large AJ.
 

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Another storie from the 70's, working offshore before video movies, sat tv and such. My standby time was passed by drinking coffe and playing poker or messing with the fish. One daily event would be when the galley scrapes would be dumped over the side (in day light) and the turd rustlers (hard tales) would go into a feeding frenzy then the AJ's would storm up from the depths and kick butt on the rustlers. 80 to 100 miles out of Cameron and Sabine pass seemed to have the larger AJ's. As far as when I'd hang a hooked hard tale on the surface, ala kite fishing. I could get the Cudas
to hit along with Kings and even a Bull Drarado once but don't remember
getting a AJ to eat a surface bait. But dropping a Buck or feather Jig down 50ft. while the Galley scrapes were being dumped and an AJ would take it to the rig legs straight away.

When the comercial boats would show up they would drop hand lined hard tales to 50 - 70 ft only when targeting AJ's. I too feel AJ's will race up and down the water colum to feed. 200 feet might seem like a long way when
your cranking up a fish. But it's just a quick dash when your a 60 lb gray bomb.
 
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