John Kirwan lands rare almaco jack catch on Scott Reef

Scott CoghlanThe West Australian
John Kirwan with a rare highfin amberjack.
Camera IconJohn Kirwan with a rare highfin amberjack. Credit: Supplied

Perth’s John Kirwan enjoyed a fabulous trip to remote Scott Reef with Seaestar Charters.

The voyage to Scott Reef is more than 300km out of Broome, but he was on a top-shelf boat and the fishing action more than makes up for the long trip, as the Irishman found out.

They enjoyed some stellar fishing on the live-aboard trip, with catches including some big yellowfin tuna, wahoo, dogtooth tuna and ruby snapper.

Kirwan was surprised while jigging, when he hooked something that fought hard and confused all aboard when it hit the surface.

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He pulled up what initially appeared to be a very lost samson fish, but which was called for an amberjack, which look almost identical.

In fact, it was neither, but rather a very close relative of both found in northern waters but not often caught by anglers.

It was a highfin amberjack Seriola rivoliana, also often called an almaco jack, usually found in tropical climes from Exmouth north but occasionally reported as far south as Perth.

Talk about the luck of the Irish — a memorable catch for Kirwan and he has also won a $50 Halco lure pack for his efforts.


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Real Baitz feature precise anatomical features of the species right down to colours and the swimming action.

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FADs: Mahi mahi, southern bluefin tuna.

Rottnest Island offshore: King George whiting, dhufish, pink snapper, yellowtail kingfish, baldchin groper.

Mindarie offshore: Skipjack trevally, dhufish, snapper.

East Fremantle: Tailor, black bream, tarwhine.

Bicton: Black bream, tailor, flounder.

Claremont: Flathead.

Nedlands: Mulloway, giant herring.

City Beach: Herring, tailor.

Cottesloe: Herring, tailor.

Mandurah offshore: Crayfish, dhufish, baldchin groper.

Murray River: Black bream, mulloway.

Peel-Harvey Inlet: Yellowfin whiting, black bream, tailor.


Frankland River: Herring, tailor, black bream.

Nornalup Inlet: Skipjack trevally, yellowfin whiting, black bream, blue swimmer crabs.

Offshore: Blue groper, dhufish, harlequin fish.


Jetty: Tailor, squid, herring, snook.

Wire Reef: Snapper, samson fish.

Seaward Ledge: Baldchin groper, pink snapper.

Island Point: Tailor.

Hill River: Bream, whiting, tailor.

Offshore: Dhufish, samson fish, pink snapper, baldchin groper, breaksea cod.


Denham Jetty: Squid.

Offshore: Spanish mackerel, grey mackerel, rankin cod, wahoo.

Dirk Hartog: Coral trout, rankin cod, spanish mackerel, wahoo, yellowfin tuna.


Ningaloo offshore: Spanish mackerel, wahoo, mahi mahi, sailfish.

Ningaloo shore: Golden trevally, spangled emperor, dart, queenfish.

Gulf: Longtail tuna, golden trevally, queenfish, giant herring, coral trout, bluebone.

Muiron Islands: Spanish mackerel, bluebone, coral trout, golden trevally, giant trevally.

Bay of Rest: Golden trevally, giant trevally.

Gulf creeks: Mud crabs, mangrove jack, cod.

Marina: Mangrove jack, yellowfin bream, mullet, cod.

Learmonth: Yellowfin bream, mangrove jack, mullet, cod, queenfish.

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