This fish species is characterized by its overall amber-colored, massive body that is lighter on the undersides, a long snout, long anal and dorsal fins, and the very distinctive dark "bandit" stripe running diagonally through its eye obliquely to the front of its dorsal fin, which fades into a black background after death (see Baja On The Fly photo below) and significantly diminished with the age of the fish.
The Amberjack is quite similar to the Yellowtail, Seriola lalandi (which is more aerodynamic and not as deeply colored, with a smooth, pointed snout and a colored lateral stripe), and the Fortune Jack, Seriola peruana (much smaller in size, short snout, mouth ending under the pupil, no bars or stripes on head or body, dark fins, and an overall bronze appearance).
The Amberjack is also characterized by its slow, steady and consistent "pull," resembling a major locomotive, that can continue for several minutes without a pause.
Distribution in Mexico fishing areas
This fish species is pelagic and found in all Mexican fishing waters including around the oceanic islands. It is found as deep as 450 feet, over all types of terrain. It is reported to reach a length of 60 inches, but is more common at 2 feet in length. Note: The world record Amberjack, as of 2004, was caught in Mexican waters with a fish weighing 104 pounds.
The Amberjack and other members of the Jack family are found in all tropical and subtropical seas.
Length vs. weight chart by John Snow.
Amberjack, Seriola rivoliana: Photo courtesy of John Snow.
Amberjack, Pacific Amberjack, Almaco Jack, Seriola rivoliana: Caught with Captain Pata in the panga Salome, La Playita, San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico, midmorning in June 2003, in 75-degree water, one-half mile from shore, utilizing 30-pound test and size 6/0 hook baited with a live mullet, trolled on the surface, 20 miles north of La Playita. Size approximately 4 feet and 60 pounds, that required about a 20-minute tug-of-war to land. Viewed by locals as a prized catch and as excellent table fare. One of the larger Pacific Amberjack we are aware of was 86 pounds and caught in 30 feet of water off the surface with a blue-silver Jointed Rebel lure in early April. Description and photo courtesy John Snow.
Amberjack, Pacific Amberjack, Almaco Jack, Seriola rivoliana: Caught while fishing in June 2002 by Mieke Schaap on 14-pound line. It took a dead trolled sardine half-a-mile offshore of La Ribera, East Cape, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Length 23 inches, fought for about 20 minutes, released alive. Description and photo courtesy Peter Langstraat.
Amberjack, Pacific Amberjack, Almaco Jack, Seriola rivoliana: Sherry Bravo of San Diego, landed this 76-pound amberjack while fishing on 20-pound tackle off San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico, in June 2002, baiting a live mullet with Gordo Banks Pangas. Photo courtesy Eric Brictson.
Amberjack, Pacific Amberjack, Almaco Jack, Seriola rivoliana: La Playita guide Chame Pino needed 45 minutes to subdue this hefty 88-pound amberjack off La Fortuna near San Jose del Cabo, May 2002. Photo courtesy Eric Brictson, Gordo Banks Pangas.
Amberjack, Pacific Amberjack, Almaco Jack, Seriola rivoliana: Cought on the fly at East Cape, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Note stripe through eye on this freshly-caught fish. Photo courtesy Gary Graham, Baja On The Fly.
Amberjack, Pacific Amberjack, Almaco Jack, Seriola rivoliana: Photo courtesy Eric Brictson, Gordo Banks Pangas.
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