Amberjack, Seriola rivoliana

The Amberjack, Seriola rivoliana, whose common Spanish name is “Medregal Limón”, is a member of the Jack or Carangidae Family, known collectively as “Jureles and Pámpanos” in Mexico. They are also known at the Pacific Amberjack and Almaco Jack.

The Amberjack is the largest Jack found in Mexican waters and they have an elongated fusiform (wide in the middle and tapering at both ends) body that is relatively deep and compressed with an upper head and body profile that is distinctly more convex than the lower profile with a width that is 30 to 34% of standard length. They are an amber colored fish with a massive body that is lighter on the undersides and they have a very distinctive dark “bandit” stripe running diagonally through its eye obliquely to the front of its dorsal fin, which fades into a black background shortly after collection and is significantly diminished with the age of the fish. They have a long pointed snout with the mouth ending under the center of the pupil and long anal and dorsal fins. The anal and dorsal fin (7 to 8 spines) have long bases with elongated front rays and the anal fin base being shorter than the second dorsal fin base, the caudal fin is forked, and the pectoral fins are very short. There are no isolated finlets after the second dorsal and anal fins and there is no lateral line. They have 22 to 26 gill rakers and no caudal fin base keel and no scutes.

The Amberjack reach a maximum length of 160 cm (63 inches) and up to 60 kg (132 pounds), (the current I.G.F.A. world record, caught off La Paz, Baja California Sur in 1964). I have included an Amberjack Weight From Length Conversion Table in this Website that allows the accurate determination of a fishes weight and a return to the ocean unharmed to live another day. I personally have caught an 86 pound Amberjack in the greater Los Cabos waters. They are wide ranging cicumglobal species and are found in all oceanic Mexican waters with the exception that they are absent from the northern 85% of the Sea of Cortez. They are a demersal pelagic schooling species that around found at depths up to 820 feet.

The Amberjack can be confused with the Yellowtail, Seriola lalandi (more aerodynamic; colored lateral stripe) and the Fortune Jack, Seriola peruana (smaller, dark fins, bronze appearance).

The Amberjack is a major targeted game species in the greater Los Cabos area, however, they are very seasonal and not caught with regularity. They are famous for its slow, steady and consistent “pull,” resembling a major locomotive that can continue for several minutes without a pause. They are considered to be excellent table fare.

Amberjack, Seriola rivoliana: Caught off Palmilla Point, Baja California Sur, on a trolled Repalla, June 2007. Length: 50 cm (20 inches).
Amberjack, Seriola rivoliana: Caught off Palmilla Point, Baja California Sur, on a trolled Repalla, June 2007. Length: 50 cm (20 inches).