World Records for Greater Amberjack 

Tomás Joao Sousa Freitas

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Current world-record greater amberjack for men—166 pounds
(75.4 kilograms) Madeira Island, Portugal Aug 7, 2010 by Tomás Joao Sousa Freitas

My name is Tomás João Sousa Freitas,aged 28 years old I live in Madeira Island  and I am a Merchant Maritime Pilot Officer. On August 7th 2010 I went hunting with my father in Madeira island,despite being very tired and not feeling like it, I had been diving,fishing all that week. After some trouble to bring the boat to the sea,due to the many boats at that time ,12o´clock,on the ramp  doing the same , we headed to some well-known shoals,a bit far from the shore, though. Already in the water by myself with my father on the boat ,as a skipper,I noticed that the current was very strong and the water not very clean on the surface,but still with good enough visibility up to about 18m.When I was charging my 120cm Roballen with two 16mm elastics and with roballen rell, wondering  whether I was too far from the rocks I Checked it with my father ,since I was not being able to see the sea bottom. My father verified  with the chartplotter which said that we were a bit far from those rocks. I asked for a lift to the shoal . There, looking down I saw three Amberjacks in middle waters,one of them being very big,huge,and the other two weighing about 25 kgs each. The sea current was very strong and the fishes were swimming against it. WhileI was preparing my dive the amberjacks  went deeper and I stopped seeing them. I went down without much preparation as there we must dive while near the rocks and not when we are prepared. At about 18m I started letting me down slowly, trying to understand where the amberjacks had gone. At about 26m I looked ahead and saw many amberjacks all weighing  between   10 and 20 kgs Swimming towards me, being the first a real «beast». I tried to keep calm waiting a bit more, he came nearer but then started to turn back and when he started to swim away I pointed the Roballen and shot targetting  the pectoral fin, I think this as a good shot when in doubt of a well- aimed shot, as it reaches a vital area,weakening the fish a bit, what is of great importance ,as known, in the catching of the fish.I shot from far   but I felt he was well reached. He reacted typically as an amberjack slow at the beginning with great vigour though. In the first meters I tried with great effort to bring him to as near the possible  the surface I could ,as this area is full of high rocks on the sea bottom between 30 and 45 meters. Arriving to the surface I felt exhausted after the painful «climbing»,as I had to make sure the fish would not reach the rocks as he was trying to. He tried to swim to the open sea and I knew the line could be broken if passed near the rocks.The fight was getting more and more difficult as his strength was still the same and I was there holding him as fast as I could coming to the surface to recover a bit. After 20 minutes I was exhausted,almost without energy since the very beginning I was using all my strength to hold him,otherwise I wouldn´t have been able to capture him.Suddenly he started to fail and I recovered 10m of line ,very convenient at that time as I only had 5m of line left in my roballen reel, and for the first time I believed that amberjack  was about to be « mine».However, he swam down again and by trying to hold him I got more and more tired and my pulse was getting too quick. I was  feeling almost unable to hold him any longer and that´s when the fish gave in and I made an attempt to pull him ceaselessly to the surface. Only then I started to  distinguish his outline. He stopped fighting,30 minutes had passed from the shot.I felt it was  the biggest physical struggle I had ever had  with a fish. I stopped  after pulling him up to the 15m and asked my father to give me the 110cm roballen scorpia,with a 20mm elastic and a roballen reel. I charged the roballen and rest for a brief moment,went down to double the shot,but only after 7m I had to come up because I was too tired and my pulse was still too fast, I decided to rest a bit more.After a while I went down to double the shot, and then,yes, the fish was mine.   

At the sight of that big amberjack , and after I had brought him onto the boat, my father who is 61 years old and 40 years of hunting, hardly believed it and said : this weighs at least 70kgs .I laughed and thought he was exaggerating. Only when I tried to hold him for the photograph I realized how heavy he was.It was only with my father´s help that I could hold him a bit for the photos. When the scales showed 75,4 I got very happy, because ever since the year 2003 when I started  using the Roballen equipment  ,I´ve been after this fish ,spending many days and hours around these shoals for this magnificent fishing.


Antonio Concepcion Soria

Previous world-record greater amberjack for men—161 pounds
(73.09 kilograms) Canary Island, Spain Feb 13, 2003 by Antonio Concepcion Soria

  My name is Antonio Concepcion Soria, I am 28 years old and study marine biology. I am from Tenerife (Canary Islands) and my passion is spearfishing. I am a member of the spearfishing club APNEA-SUR . The Seriola Dumerili (medregal in the Canaries) in this photo was caught on the 13th of February, 2003. I went spearfishing on my own at 16:00 pm in an authorized area for spearfishing, the tide was reaching low (expected at 17hr 15min) with a high tide coefficient (it would be full moon in 4 days.) It was sunny with a mild north-east wind that is very tyupical in the Canaries. The visibility was poor for our waters, only 10 meters, and there was a slight current towards the south-west--a little disturbing.
   The spot I was heading to was approximately 800 meters from the coastline, so I started to make some dives to warm up while I was swimming on my way. The bed of the sea was sand with some seagrass (fanerogramas) at approximately 18 meters deep. While I was over a depth of 22 meters, I saw a school of a type of sardines just below me formed into a ball. I dropped to mid-water descending slowly towards the deep by inertia, at approximately 20 meters I saw a Seriola swimming slowly. I let myself go a bit more when the Seriola turns slightly to the left to look at me. I gave a couple of kicks of the fins in order to be at shooting range with my SPETTON i20 cm speargun shooting a 6'5 mm spear.
  I aimed at the Seriola searching for the eye (just behind) looking for the brain and shot, the spear entered slightly behind the brain. The fish opened its mouth staying still for 2 seconds and then began to swim. I rushed up for air and the fish followed me nearly to the surface before diving down to the deep.
  The spear did not go completely through the fish but it was deeply stuck and in a good place. I looked at my watch knowing it would be a long fight, it was 16h 40' pm. The fish was swimming slowly towards the horizon tking me with him, I was kicking hard in the same direction to save the equipment from suffering a breakage and losing the fish. From time-to-time, it stopped buth when I tried to pull him up he launched forward but not for too long.
  I looked at my watch again, more than 40 minutes had passed. I was pretty tired and as my gloves were broken in some areas, my fingers started to bleed because of the nylon. The fish was at a depth of approximately 35 meters now slowly swimming toward some rocks. I had lost a piece of my fin and it was difficult to keep pace with the fish in these conditions. I hooked the nylon around one of the weights of my belt and let the fish carry me along while I was trying to fix the fin with my free hands--it worked!
  As the fish was heading towards the rocks and the wreck there, I was afraid that the fish would break the nylon shooting line. I turned and tried to head him toward the coastline pulling him behind. The fish was losing strenght and slowly started to give up. Looking at my watch it was 17h 40' pm and I was still fighting against a fish I had not seen since I shot it. There it was huge! as it came belly up but still moving slowly.
  From the surface, I pulled the nylon up and the fish came up like a cork and stayed on the surface belly-up. I came closer and held the spear, and the fish was dead. Swimming with the fish toward the shore, I again lost part of the fin and made the last 100 meters with only one fin.
  I finally hit the sand at 18h 05' pm, it had been an hour and 25 minute fight. My neighbors were watching me form their balconies, being a testimony to my last meters swimming with the fish toward the shore. I was guessing it could weigh 60-65 kgs, but when we took it to the scale and weighed it properly, it was finally 73.09 kgs.



Jose de Sousa

Meritorious award for Greater Amberjack for men—99.5 pounds (45.2 kilograms) by Jose de Sousa

Greater Amberjack (seriola dumerili)
August 11, 1999

I live in Lisbon, but every year I’am going two or three times to Azores for spearfishing. Azores is an archipelago 1,000 miles from Portugal coast, 2.30 hours by aircraft. There, we can find good visibility inside water, sometimes almost 30 meters, 22 water degrees in summer, and big fish, like seriola, barracuda, some kinds of grouper.

In last August I came back again try to catch a big seriola, In the past, I have caught more than one hundred seriolas with considerable weight, like 22, 25, 28, 35, 36 and 42 Kg. In last ten years, I have hunting in that place, always I got there a luck and good performance!

On a sunshine day, I went to the spearfishing with my friends, whose I met a long time ago: Luis Meneses us a local skipper and Carlos Santos, friend who was going from Lisbon with me.

About ten o’clock in the morning we arrived to the sec (shoal), three miles from coast. Here the sea is very deep, about 300/500 meters, but in several sec points we can find deep between 15 and 35 meters, where we can spear hunting; sometimes, this points are us a big fish sanctuary!

When I fall in water, quickly I caught a seriola using french "agachon" technique: I dived to a canal compose by big stones and there I waited, immobile, for a fish. It’s a patience game because in most of the times I returned to the surface without see any fish which desert my spear. However, I have lucked in my first "agachon", because I returned to the surface together a seriola with 22kg. Here, we can feel the current! Sometimes it’s impossible to do spearfishing here because of the strong current; we go inshore and come back later when the current is stopped.

After my first catch, I spent twenty minutes repeating "agachons" in a extension area about 300 x 300 meters, between 15 and 25 meters deep. After two hours, I have caught three seriolas with 11, 18 and 22 Kg, four "bicudas" (seems like barracuda) between 5 and 7 Kg, and two "bonito" with 3 and 4 Kg, and I have seen a big seriola which doesn’t come to my "agachon"; it was enormous! Since that moment, any time I have dived, I was looking for the blue and, immobile, I was waiting for the most big seriola of the day: nothing!

I was using an "arbalete blackline" speargun with 7mm seccion thaitiane spear and two 20 mm seccion gun; I never used a gear (reel) but yes, 30 meters of transparent plastic cable (aquarium tube): one of the extremity is attach at speargun and the other is attach a very little float (this is not a spearfishing float, which resistance to the water tires the spearman! Is a simple net fishing float with ten centimeters of diameter. This one doesn’t tire the spearfishing man, and plastic tube is always extended). So, if I need to leave the gun in deep, I can return to the surface controlling the gun and the fish with plastic cable which elasticity give 30% length more. Is a good technique for this kind of big and strong pelagic fishes. However, one time six years ago, I have losted two spearguns in just an hour because cable was broken: one of the seriola which broken the cable had about 70(!!) Kg: a monster! The great advantaged this systems is about gun handling (the gear is heavy!) and because of this I can return more quickly to the surface.

After fifteen minutes trying to see again the big seriola, my effort and persistence was compensated: about twenty-two meters deep, the seriola curiosity brings to me. However, ten meters of distance between us, doesn’t permit the shot: one more, the "agachon" was not enough! I should try again! In the next four dives I didn’t see the big fish, but when I was near to give up I found it once more; my last chance? Yes.

At 25 meters deep the seriola was coming to me but once more outside my shoot gun; about 30 seconds I was immobile trying to attract the fish......without result! So, very slowly I went to the seriola: I had nothing to lose!

The fish moved back and I accelerated my approach; the seriola seemed me confuse about my reaction and tolerated a few meters: a fatal meters! Indeed when I was three meters distant I shot with great pressure and my spear crossed the fish head: even death blessed, trying to escape; I returned to the surface with plastic tube in my hand; hear and slowly, I was pushing the tube, meters by meter, bringing the seriola to me; when I put my hands in your gills, was an authentic explosion in surface; however too late. Two minutes after the big seriola was on skipper hands inside the boat; on scales is weight: 45,200 Kg!

Jose de Sousa

Notable catch for Greater Amberjack for men—65 kilograms (143 pounds) by Anthony Alexander


On a recent trip to the Cape Verde Islands, Rob Wyly and I had several
successful days diving on various Islands. Our most notable landed catch was
a Greater Amberjack of 65 kg or 143 pounds. This fish was taken in around 65foot of water on a 1.3m Rob Allen Railgun with one 16mm rubber and using a7mm spear. The fight that followed was extremely dogged with the fish
fighting in an up down method. I finally got it to the surface and boated it
some 20 minutes latter thanks to a well placed shot, otherwise it would have
smashed me up. Our scale was broken so we used a local hand scale which went to 50 kg's. We cut the fish in two and lost a lot of weight and fluid in the
process. During our trip Rob shot one of around the 80 kg mark which
unfortunately came of. Had it not been for the scale we could probably have
upped the bar on the current world record with some 14kg.

Anthony Alexander


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Notable catch for Greater Amberjack for men—50 kilograms (110 pounds) by Dia Captan

Tuesday the 12th of December, 2006 was a day that I am sure that I will cherishfor the rest my life. Marc and I have been working on a new documentary for almost a month, and so far the largest fish landed on video was a 17 kg king fish. On Tuesday the 12th of December 2006, Marc, Sam, and I met in Kfirabidaa at 11am and the sea was flat with great visibility. As Marc and I hit the waters, we swam for 15 minutes before taking our first dive at 16 meters, followed by a second dive at 18.5 meters. As we started taking our third dive and the film started rolling, I noticed Marc Making a quick turn and started extending his speargun, so I followed him slowly and to my disbelief I noticed a very large amberjack swimming only 7 meters below us and moving directly towards Marc. I continued to film without making a single movement and noticed through the LCD screen that the amberjack was approaching Marc closer and closer. At a certain point, I thought that marc should have gone for the shot but instead, and since he was very excited, he decided to wait a little bit more and aim better. 2 seconds later Marc went for his shot while being only 1 meter away from the amberjack and bam the shaft went directly into top of the amberjacks gill plate few cm’s below the amberjacks eye, just on the yellow line. At this moment the amberjack froze for a second and started swimming away slowly and then madly started opening his gills left and right. At that moment I recalled another 50-60 kg amberjack that I shot in Monsef last month, and I could still recall how it opened its gills for the shaft to fall off. I was worried that the same thing could happen again and started swimming towards it to shoot more movies just in case the amberjack got loose. As I started moving closer towards it, the amberjack started swimming away and few seconds later I started ascending to see Marc swimming very fast since the Amberjack has taken the whole 50 meters of line and there was nothing we can do but to swim behind it.  The first thing I told Marc when I reached the surface that it was a great shot, and Marc replied yes, but it will get loose! We continued swimming for around 30 minutes behind the amberjack and at a certain moment Mark slapped his hand on the water and told me that the amberjack has gotten loose. Oh my god I said, and seconds later he felt the pull once again and we kept swimming behind it until it finally got tired and marc started pulling the line towards him very slowly. 2 or 3 minutes later, while still filming Marc succeeded in bringing the Amberjack to the surface since we didn’t have a spare speargun to go for a killer shot. I gave Marc my knife and he swam slowly from behind it and jumped above the water to stab the knife as deep as possible in its head and started shouting in celebration. Oh my god, what we thought could be 30-40 kg amberjack turned out to be a monster and we started celebrating in disbelief.

Later we realized that the shaft went only 6 or 7cm deep into its gill plate, and luckily, the single flopper opened and being very patient with the amberjack paid off and the flopper didn’t break. Few minutes later, I embraced the amberjack and decided to surf on it to shore. It took us almost 1 hour to return back and when we returned we saw our friend Sam waiting for us in disbelief.  It took the three of us to pull it out of the water and we started taking pictures with it. We went to Mina to weigh it. When we put it on the scale, we realized that it was a 50kg amberjack.  We went to my place, took a shower, put on the firehouse, ordered dinner, and watched the movie 6-8 times.   It was one of these rare days in ones life when pure luck and perfect conditions all meet together. 

Dia Captan

Tripoli, Lebanon

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