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Seriola Dumerili

"Amber,Jack, Amberfish, Jackhammer, Horse-eye Bonito,

Amberfish, AJ, Coronado, Cavilia

Horse-eye Jack"


Description: Dark stripe (variably present) extends from nose to in front of dorsal fin and "lights up" when fish is in feeding mode; no scutes; soft dorsal base less than twice the length of the anal fin base. Overall brownish or goldish. Heavy body. No scutes forward of tail fin. Dark oblique line through the eye that ends at the dorsal fin.

Similar Fish: The greater amberjack, lesser amberjack and banded rudderfish are all very similar fish. It’s important to know the difference due to the relatively large minimum size for greater amberjack: 28 inches fork length. The lesser AJ has a slightly deeper body and proportionately larger eye than his bigger cousin. If your "amberjack" has tips of white on his tail fin, chances are you’ve got a banded rudderfish. It’s tough to tell these three apart, and unless you’re really sure of the species identification, the best rule may be to throw back any specimen under 28 inches in length.

Where Found: OFFSHORE - typically in 60 - 240 feet of water; juveniles associated with floating objects and may occur in water less than 30 feet deep. typically they are found associated with rocky reefs, debris, and wrecks, typically in 20 to 75 m (10 to 40 fathoms).These fish are found throughout the Carolinas down to Florida and also in the Gulf Coast.

Adults are common at various depths, ranging from reefs several hundred feet deep to fairly shallow wrecks and reefs. Big ones also come close to shore at times, particularly in the Keys and the Islands. Artificial reefs and wrecks all along the Gulf Coast often harbor huge schools of smaller Amberjack, and many Gulf wrecks are home to big ones as well.

Amberjack are also found in the Indo-Pacific around Japan, China, and the Philippines, in the central Pacific off Hawaii, throughout the western Atlantic Ocean, in portions of the eastern Atlantic Ocean (Madeira and southern and western Africa), and in the Mediterranean Sea in tropical and warm temperate waters.

Size: 20-150 lbs. (Common to 40 lbs.) Schools of young fish are common at 5-20 pounds. Average size over deep wrecks and reefs is 30-60 pounds, but 100-pounders are not too rare and the potential maximum exceeds 150 pounds.

USA record: 155 pounds, 10 ounces. 118 lb. Chesapeake Light Tower (VA) 1996 by Wayne Seymour

World record: 155 lbs. 12 oz, Bermuda June 24, 1981 by Joseph Dawson

Bait used: Amberjack are most often caught aboard charter boats and party boats on heavy rods and reels with lines testing 50 pounds or more and are no patsies, even then. Experienced light-tackle anglers can successfully battle them with spinning and bait casting rigs, and even fly rods. Around wrecks, they frequently follow hooked fish to boat side, and also may rise to the top voluntarily. Then they can be cast to with surface plugs, spoons, jigs, or big fly rod streamers and poppers. Live chum will also draw Amberjack from the depths. Best bait with heavy tackle is any sort of live fish, the friskier the better.

Tactics to catch: Amberjack are often caught by trolling with small to medium-sized lures. Spoons, jigs and feathers are all effective for catching amberjack. Natural baits are also effective with the top baits being mullet and balao. Casting; Drifting; Trolling. A Strong, punishing fighter that powers deep and defies lifting. Fairly long runs can also occur early in the fight. The amberjack is such a strong, stubborn fighting fish. They will hit a lure near the surface, however, they will make a strong run for the bottom. A great deal of stamina matches their strength. Novices may fight amberjack of average size for an hour or longer.

Climate: (water temperature range) Prefer warmer water (18-24°C) although they are occasionally found in cooler water.

Spawning Habits: Spawning occurs offshore and begins at about 2 to 3 years of age.

Table food? Excellent

Consumption Concerns: The amberjack is high on the list of the 300 or more species of tropical marine fishes suspected of causing ciguatera poisoning .Amberjacks, like other fish that inhabit reef areas can ingest the organism that creates the ciguatera toxin. The fish is not affected by these toxins but they can be detrimental to the health of humans that ingest them. Because the toxin is area specific and not species specific, buyers should inquire into the origins of any fish they purchase.

Feeding habits: Amberjacks are voracious predators, which feed on squid, fish, and crustaceans

Remarks: Largest of the jacks; thought to spawn OFFSHORE throughout most of the year; feeds on squid, fish, and crustaceans.

The greater amberjack is the largest of the jacks and the most sought after by sport fishermen because of its qualities as a game fish. It strikes fast, fights hard and often dives for the bottom. Frequently when one amberjack is brought to the boat, others will follow it to the surface.

References: fishbase.org

Take me fishing


Buck Davidson - Suncoast Gamefish Profiles

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