Seriola hippos, Samson, sambo
Unfortunately the Samson fish is very easily confused with amberjack with which it is closely related and often found inhabiting the same areas as. The best way to tell the Samson fish apart from its relatives is to count the second dorsal fin rays. If there are 23-25 dorsal fin rays and 16-17 anal fin rays then you’ve got a samson fish. The Samson fish also has a more rounded forehead than its relatives and may have vertical blotches of colour along its body. The colour of Samson fish varies from grey to brown. Samson fish can grow to 1.8m and over 50kg although most are caught at 5-20kg.
Found from Shark Bay in the north to the South Australian border in the south. In summer, aggregations off Rottnest Island tend to be particularly productive. These fish are often associated with structures but can also be found on sand or seagrass beds. They can be found in shallow water but also anything up to over 100m deep.
Rigs and Techniques
Short heavy spins rods and heavy overhead reels are preferable for this hard fighting fish. It’s best to use something like a 24kg braid and 30-50kg mono leader.
Samson fish are most often fished on deep vertical jig rigs or baits such as live fish, pilchard, or squid with decent sinkers and large hooks. Drop your bait or jigs to the bottom and either bottom jig while drifting or retrieve the jig with movements depending on the type of jig you are using. Keeping up a constant berley trail can help to greatly improve the fishing.