Seriola hippos

Southern WA, SA, VIC, NSW/ACT
Bay, Ocean, Offshore, Reef, Structure

The Samson Fish is found in the Indo-Pacific Oceans to eastern Northland in New Zealand and can be found as big as 80-150cm.

This member of the Jack family is actually a cousin of the Amberjack and the Yellowtail. The Samson Fish has a huge reputation as being a brutal battler and prized by sport fishers. The Samson Fish is endemic to the southern half of Australia, Norfolk Island and New Zealand. If you want a good workout when you go fishing, the Samson Fish is the best choice for you.

Samson Fish are sometimes mistakenly called Yellowtail Kingfish. Other common nicknames include Sambo, Samson and Sea Kingfish.


While Samson Fish appear similar to Amberjack and Yellowtail, they can be distinguished by a band of papillae engorged with blood surrounding the teeth, steeper and deeper bodies. Samson Fish vary in colour and often have distinct vertical blotches which fade with age, and are also not found in the other similar species.

The Samson Fish is best separated by the number of second dorsal rays. Samson Fish have 23-25 compared to 31 or more with the Yellowtail Kingfish. Samson Fish have 16-17 anal rays compared to the Amberjack which has 19 or more anal rays and 29-35 second dorsal rays.

Samson Fish have a more rounded forehead than fish it is mistaken for, which is more pronounced in younger fish.


Most Samson Fish are found from Shark Bay in the north of Western Australia to the South Australian border in the south and further around the coast of Victoria and New South Wales. In summer, Samson Fish are often found in structure but can also be found on sand or seagrass beds. You will find Samson Fish in shallow water and in anything up to a full 100m of depth.


Samson fish can be taken at all depths from waters close to the shore to around 60 fathoms on light to medium fishing gear. They are ferocious feeders and a simple berley trail will bring them to the surface.

The best way to locate Samson Fish is to use a fishfinder or sounder to locate a wreck or structure under the water. They key to using berley is to provide the fish with enough to get interested without providing them too much for a quick feed. They come running to the surface and you will soon have plenty of Samson Fish within 10m depth from the surface.

The best baits are live fish, whole fresh dead fish including fillets, Pilchard, octopus, squid or crabs. Samson Fish can be taken on deep vertical fished jigs.

Be prepared with a serious amount of quality fishing tackle when you are chasing Samson Fish. You should be prepared to lose, break and even melt it with these ferocious feeders. If you like fish that go for long runs, the Samson Fish is for you.

Because Samson Fish are infected with parasite that causes the flesh to melt when cooked, they are not considered any good for the table.