The california yellowtail is a member of the amberjack family. It’s a very popular fish for the skill required to hook one, the fight that they put up when you do, and the tasty meals you can make when you get one home. Typically, the yellowtail caught in Southern California will weight between 10 and 30 lbs. Fish topping 40 lbs. are trophy monsters. You know you are in a fight when you have one on the line.
Giant amberjacks caught in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico have the same hard-fighting characteristics, but reach weights in excess of 100 lbs. Recently, angler Don Wheeler experienced what it feels like to catch a giant “AJ” and in the process may have set a new state record.
Fishermen fought with the massive 126 pound catch for 30 minutes — much longer than usual for that type of fish — before hauling it aboard charter boat the Lovin’ Life.
“He knew right when he hooked it he had a big one, he could feel it,” Captain Chris Denton said of the lucky fisherman. “I thought it was a big grouper, its mouth was so big,” Denton said.
The fish was caught March 22 by Don Wheeler from Laurel, Miss., in an area of the Gulf known as Horseshoes Rigs, where the water is 200 feet deep in some places.
Photos: Beaumont Enterprise