Seriola Fasciata

Carangidae

Perciformes

Nearshore, Offshore

8 - 12 pounds

19" - 27"

Lesser Amberjack Game Fish Quality Very Good
Lesser Amberjack Meal Quality Poor
Lesser Amberjack Fly Fishing Quality Poor

Lesser Amberjack 

Lesser Amberjack 
Also Known As: False Amberjack, Little Amberjack, Amberjack  

About Lesser Amberjack 

The lesser amberjack is a saltwater fish that belongs to the family Carangidae, the species of jacks and pompanos. This rayfinned fish is the smaller counterpart of the relatively popular greater amberjack. It has a short and wide body with a relatively slender upper jaw. The fish has either olive green or dark pink and violet back while it has a white or silver-gray belly. A light gold line extends from its eye to its tail. 

You can identify the lesser amberjack by its rounded dorsal fin with eight spines on the first one. The second dorsal fin is not connected to the first. It has 30 to 32 rays. The lesser amberjack is also known to have a tail that is shaped like a boomerang. The lesser amberjack’s diet consists of small fish, squid, and crabs that they pursue in open waters or near the seafloor. 

 

Interesting Lesser Amberjack Facts 

  • The lesser amberjack may look similar to the greater amberjack but it is a rare species and caught less frequently. 
  • Lesser amberjacks are also closely comparable to the banded rudderfish. In order to distinguish between the two, anglers must count the number of dorsal fin rays. Banded rudderfish have 33 to 40 while lesser amberjacks have 30 to 32. 
  • Much like the greater amberjack, lesser amberjacks are also associated with ciguatera poisoning. 
  • The first record of the species was a 5.6-inch juvenile lesser amberjack found on the Mediterranean coasts of Syria. 
  • This species of the smallest of the amberjack family. 

 

Fish Size 

Juvenile lesser amberjack measures about 1.6 inches to 10.2 inches in fork length. Once the fish reaches adulthood, it can reach 26.6 inches in length and 10.1 pounds in weight. 

 

Fishing Habitat and Distribution

Lesser amberjacks are groundfish that live at depths of 180 to 430 feet. They are found in deeper waters compared to other Seriola. They dwell in subtropical coastal waters in the Western Atlantic: from Massachusetts south to Brazil, and the Eastern Atlantic: Madeira, and the Canary Islands. The species thrives in warm waters with an average temperature of 63 °F. They spawn offshore while hiding in the protective tentacles of jellyfish. The seasonality for the lesser amberjack fishing is open year-round.  

 

Fishing Technique

Although the lesser amberjacks are not considered game fish, anglers can still fish for them by drifting with live bait or pieces of cut fish. Mullets, spinach fish, and cigar minnows are some of the bait that anglers can use to catch lesser amberjacks.  Lesser amberjacks can also be caught by trolling with feathered jigs and other artificial lures. When fishing for this species, it is important to sink your lure to the bottom where the fish swim. A vertical jig can be used for that. Lesser amberjack fishing is currently unrecognized in the sportfishing industry but a large enough catch can still qualify for a special “Unusual Species” award.