Whole Fish

Gulf Seafood + Southern Food

The Carangidae family of fish, or Jacks as they are commonly called, is one of the more diverse varietals in the Gulf. The Greater Amberjack, Pompano, and Permit are some of the more well-known species, but there are many lesser-known, but equally as tasty Jacks: Black Trevally, Rainbow Runner, Palometa and Almaco. Jacks are fast-swimming predatory, Pelagic fish (meaning they live in the water column in the open sea closer to the water’s surface, no more than about 1000 meters deep) that hunt surrounding reefs or the open seas.

There are about 151 species of Jacks worldwide. In the Gulf, my best count is about 25 species, 14 of which I would consider plate-worthy, but recently it seems as if I am introduced to a different species every month.

Almaco Jack or Longfin yellowtail

The Almaco Jack or Longfin Yellowtail (Seriola rivoliana) is the second largest of the Amberjack clan and, even though it takes heat very well, I believe it is one of the best fish coming out of the Gulf to serve raw. I started seeing them at the docks about 9 months ago and my crew and I at Reef originally pegged it to be a younger Greater Amberjack, but once I took a knife to it I noticed a serious difference.

Almaco filet

The muscle structure and shape were identical to the farm-raised Yellowtail-Hamachi and Almaco -Kona Kampachi coming out of the Pacific. So I sliced a piece, hit it with a little sea salt and down the hatch it went…Ooooh City! Amazing! Sweet thing, where have you been all my life? After a little research, I found that the Almaco Jack can be easily differentiated from the Greater Amberjack by the elongated dorsal and anal fins that have a definite sickle shape.

Other unusual and tasty Jacks that have passed through the Reef doors lately: Black Trevally, Rainbow Runner, African Pompano, Bar Jack, and Look Down.

Stay Tuned for Part 2...


Morgan said...


Just wanted to drop you a quick line and say that I'm really enjoying the blog. I haven't run across anything like this before.

Bobby, Kevin, and I knocked off from work at Anvil a little early last week and dropped in to Little Big's for some Sliders. Fantastic.

Keep up the good work.


Morgan Weber
Drink Dogma

Note: I branched off a little bit from Drink Dogma a few weeks ago and started another blog about urban gardening and various topics--diversifying myself smidge. So I'm writing for both now. If you care to check it out, I linked to it on my name. Its called the Orchard Chronicles.


Whole Fish said...


Glad you like it, definitely a work in progress. I keep meaning to stop by and say hello, been in that area a lot lately. Tell Bobby and Kevin I said hello.
Open till 3am over there Fridays & Saturdays at Big's, come by.

eagerly awaiting y'alls opening


Anonymous said...


I just wanted to say Congrats on your nomination. Good luck.

James Reedy

Post a Comment