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SUBJECT: # 36082: Differences in Greater and Lesser Amberjack????

Submitted by Litetackleman from ALABAMA on 9/21/01 1:38:00 PM

What are some distinct differences in greater and lesser amberjack that can be readily identified in the boat??....I need to know soon. 1 per person is killing me in Alabama.....LTM

  1. 9/21/01 1:56:00 PM Submitted by Spooled Again ( from TEXAS says The Greatest Difference
    Can be about 60 pounds.


  2. 9/21/01 2:58:00 PM Submitted by Bob H ( from FLORIDA says From the "Jacks Poster" in My Office...
    The Greater AJ has 7 dorsal fin spines, Lesser AJ has 8.

    The Greater AJ has 29-35 soft dorsal fin rays, Lesser AJ 28-33. Not a good hard check.

    and the Greater AJ has 11-19 gill-rakers, Lesser AJ 21-24.

    Since I'm not sure what a gill rake is I would go by the weight, or count dorsal spines.


  3. 9/21/01 3:47:00 PM Submitted by Magumbo ( from ALABAMA says According to Shipp
    According to Bob Shipp's book, the only true way to tell is by the gill rakes like above. However, it is important to note that lessers are much smaller than greaters. I was told by an old timer that if it was less than 18" long he considered it as a lesser jack and kept/counted as such, threw back anything between 18" and 28" (or is it 26"?) and of course kept anything above 28 as a greater. ...though don't know how the NMFS feels about that...

  4. 9/21/01 5:13:00 PM Submitted by Litetackleman from ALABAMA says Thanks here is a small update
    We went out this morn. messing around and got 2 snaps in the 18-20 lb. range, and many ...many AJs, kept 2 30" but threw back 15-20 (had limitfor me and my Dad), The old man gave us a treat with the first grouper of the fall (in 80' of water 'bout 10 miles) He went 17 pounds and gave us a couple of nice fillets. Hitting it again in the morn , will give ya'll a report Monday.....LTM

  5. 9/21/01 10:11:00 PM Submitted by Sea-r-cy ( from ARKANSAS says Greater or lesser?
    Truth be known, most enforcement officers couldn't tell the difference in a 17" "lesser" and a 17" "greater". I'm with the old timer, I keep anything less than the 18" as a "lesser", and anything over 28" as a legal "greater". Sea-r-cy

  6. 9/22/01 7:32:00 AM Submitted by bonefish from TENNESSEE says Almaco Jacks...
    There's a good piece on almaco jacks in "Florida Sportsman", April '01 issue. Says they have a long sicle-shaped dorsal and are deeper in the body, more compressed, "basically look like a greater amberjack that head-butted a reef." Capt. Dennis Forgione wrote the piece, had a lady client catch the 30-pound tackle class IGFA record at 16.5 pounds.

    Hey, Litetackleman, we're leavin for Gulf Shores this coming Friday. Draggin my BayScout in hopes of some good inshore fishin and calm seas to run out to the rigs or reefs. Any suggestions you can offer will be appreciated. GPS numbers are rewarded with beer and such, email your phone number so we can meet down there.

  7. 9/22/01 3:23:00 PM Submitted by Litetackleman from ALABAMA says Sorry Bone
    No numbers, we have been fishing public reefs. The close rigs are fished out, maybe get a mango or two and alot of big bluefish. We have been setting the anchor at sunrise, the bite has been turning off at 0930 or so.The early bird has got the worm 2 days strait now, this morn no wind 1 footers (good chop), limited on snapper by 0900, with 2 barely legal AJs released over 15 AJs ....I am sore,sore,sore...Could only catch snaps if you could get live pins past the AJs....Next Friday will be better if the cold front hangs around, they are moving back in, we fished in 80 foot of water, you can make it where we got 'em.....Good Luck......LTM

  8. 9/24/01 8:48:00 AM Submitted by Ray ( from FLORIDA says "amberjacks"
    There are actually four species of jacks that are very similar - the greater and lesser amberjacks, the almaco jack, and the banded rudderfish. The greater amberjack has a proportionately smaller eye than does the lesser amberjack; the stripe through the eye of the lesser amberjack stops in front of the dorsal fin (in the nape region), while that of the greater amberjack reaches the front of the fin. The almaco jack has a deeper body and longer dorsal and anal fin rays than the other three, and the banded rudderfish's body has proportions similar to a bluefish; it's a bit skinnier than the other three. Comparing meristics (counts, including gill rakers) and morphometrics (proportional measurements) can be used to distinguish between these fishes, but they're difficult, at best, to perform in a small boat.

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