As so often the case, there’s more to a fish than its name. And in this case, actually there are several fish commonly called amberjack, including the greater amberjack, lesser amberjack and the banded rudderfish. These fish are frequently misidentified by less experienced anglers because of their likeness.
The greater amberjack, the largest of the jacks, usually have dark (amber) stripes extending down its body from nose to tail. The lesser amberjack have a proportionately larger eye and deeper body than the larger greater amberjack.
While the banded rudderfish, the second largest of the three amberjack, is identifiable from the others by a raccoon-stripe on its eye and an iridescent gold striper on its side.
It seems like every large salty body of water in the world has its own amberjack. To name only a few from a long list, there’s the Pacific amberjack, California amberjack, Japanese amberjack, Asian yellowtail amberjack, and the flat amberjack. But what’s in a name? In the majority of cases, amberjack represents a powerful, and voracious predator with a forked tail, and long broad body that spends its life roaming near reefs, floating debris, wreaks, and other submerged structure. Because of their forked tail, broad body and incredible strength they have also earned a reputation for being tone of the toughest fish in the sea. In fact, it is not unusual for an angler to give up on catching amberjack after wangling only one or two to the surface.
These fish are so admired that two United States Navy submarines have been named USS Amberjack.