The Samsonfish is a pelagic, schooling species that occurs in coastal and inshore waters often near rocky reefs. They occur in southern waters from the Shark Bay Marine Park, WA to southern Queensland. However is not found in Victorian or Tasmanian waters.
The Samsonfish is a strong swimming predatory fish growing up to 1.75 metres. The species varies in body shape and in colouration with growth. Juveniles tend to be slightly stocky with blunt heads and have up to five dark broad vertical bands down the body. Adults are elongate and usually silvery with a brownish to bronze sheen on the back fading to a silver belly area, often a yellowish stripe down the sides and a dusky tail. They can be confused with amberjack and the yellowtail kingfish which occupy the same pelagic environment, however Samson fish has a more rounded head and uniform bronzy brown colour.
Other common names include: Abrolhos kingfish, Sambo and sea kingfish
Occurrence at the Busselton Jetty
Samson fish of various cohorts are observed from the underwater observatory. They occur individually or in groups of between 4-9, and may also be seen with a school of yellow-tail scad and herring, or silver trevally swimming along behind. It is the largest fish that frequents the waters surrounding the observatory, a spectacular sight as the huge Samson fish pass close by the windows.
Image by: O. Rynvis