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EUROPEAN SPEARFISHING RECORDS ASSOCIATION

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Almaco Jack

Almaco Jack
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Almaco Jack
Reference : 2018.07.20
EUROPEAN RECORD
Scientific name: Seriola rivoliana
Weight: 40,300 kg
Diver: Paulo Afonso
Location: S. Jorge, Azores
Country: Portugal


July 20 2018 – 16h30, arrived to a sea mountain 3 NM off the west end of São Jorge Island in
Azores. I was the only diver and at the commands of my boat (Pérola Negra) was my good friend
Ronan.
Conditions: Clear sky with a slight breeze, sea a bit choppy although with small waves (1,5m),
about 20 m visibility, some current, not much, just enough to keep me constantly kicking in order
to maintain fixed on one point and water temperature was 25 degrees Celsius.
When I got in the water the place was boiling with life. Big shoal of Yellowmouth barracudas,
Bluefish, hundreds of Guelly jacks, Atlantic bonitos, Blue runners and of course, my main target,
Amber Jacks. Almost immediately a huge school of 5-8 kg Almaco jacks came up to me at the
surface very confident, underneath them at about 15-18 m deep I could see another large shoal
of bigger fish that seemed to be 20-30 kg Greater amberjacks. I took my time and for a while I
just swam in wide circles acting disinterestedly, never diving nor looking directly into the shoals
for more than a few seconds. With this action I could see that there were some larger individuals
passing a little deeper and separated from the shoals. After a while and with a lot of patience I
was able to shoot and land a very big Greater amberjack that weighed almost 46 kg.
After that capture I knew it would be almost impossible to take another big fish on that same
spot but the current was decreasing, the place was still very alive and the best hour was still to
come, so I decided to stay a bit longer.
During the next two hours I continued to see some large fish in the deep but now with an elusive
behavior, as expected. Suddenly a large pile of birds hitting the water about 50 m from my
position drew my attention. I swam there as fast as I could and when I got close I could see a
great frenzy of Barracudas, Bluefish, Blue runners and some smaller Almaco jacks feeding on a
bait ball, underneath two big fat almacos cruising by 10-12 m deep. With a poorly prepared dive
I quickly dove down in an attempt to intercept them. My timing was a bit off but the fish
maintained their trajectory and speed, so with a confident shot from slightly above and behind,
more or less 3-4 m away from tip of the gun, I was able to hit the biggest of the two fishes right
on the switch, stoning him immediately. Brought him up and embarked him very easily. Only
then I realized the true size and fatness on that amazing fish. It looked like an Almaco but just
too big to be one! This was my thought until a few days ago when I got confirmation from
scientific committee that it was actually a Seriola Rivoliana.