Almaco Jack - Seriola rivoliana

One of the best way to distinguish between the different species of amberjack is to look at the gill rakers. Greater Amberjack have 12 to 15 gill rakers, the Banded Rudderfish usually about 17 to 20. The Lesser AJ and almaco have about 23 or more.

But since when out on the water you aren't going to remember how many gill rackers each fish is suppose to have, here is how to determine if the Amberjack you just caught is an Alamco Jack (S. rivoliana)! Take a close look at the dorsal fin. The first few rays of the soft part of the dorsal fin are way more than twice as long as the dorsal spines. Visible in this photo. Yeah like that is any better. Ok. Over time you will just be able to tell. How's that?

We usually catch lots of small Almaco Jacks around weedlines (rips) in the Gulf of Mexico. These are the young jacks, not the bigger ones like you see pictured here. Once they reach this size they start living around structure just like Greater Amberjack.

Almaco Jacks are offshore fish. They feed on other smaller fishes. Although Almaco Jacks aren't nearly as numerous as Greater Amberjack, unless you count the small ones at the sargasmo lines, they aren't all that rare either. The one pictured is a pretty good size one, although I believe some have been caught or speared by spearfisherman that went of 100 pounds.

This is an Almaco Jack. There are three other closely related species:

  • Greater Amberjack
  • Lesser Amberjack
  • Banded Rudderfish

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