(Risso, 1810); CARANGIDAE FAMILY
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 and Australia in tropical
and warm temperate waters. It is found mainly near the surface in open
waters, but can be found at
considerable depths and around off shore reefs, wrecks, buoys, etc.
The greater amberjack often have a distinctive olive colored bar from
the snout through the eye, to the beginning of the dorsal fin and a broad
amber colored stripe running horizontally along the flanks. The amber stripe
often causes anglers to confuse this species with the yellowtails. However,
the greater amberjack can be distinguished from other related species by
the gill raker count; greater amberjack over 8 inches long have only 11
16 developed gill rakers on the lower limb of the first branchial arch
(the count may be higher in smaller specimens), whereas yellowtails have
The rainbow runner has small separate finlets behind the dorsal and anal
fins which are lacking in amberjacks. Greater and lesser amberjacks can
be separated by counting the total gill rakers; 23-26 are found in lesser
amberjacks and 11-19 in the greater.
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. Fishing methods
include trolling near the surface with lures, spoons, plugs, jigs or strip
baits, and also live bait fishing. Many incidental catches of amberjack
are made while fishing the bottom for snappers and groupers.
The amberjack is high on the list of 300 or more species of tropical marine
fishes suspected of causing ciguatera poisoning.