Banded Rudderfish

The Banded Rudderfish can be distinguished from the pilot fish by the presence of a first dorsal fin.

Banded Rudderfish lose their bands (stripes) once they reach about a foot or more in length.

Large individuals have no bands; they are greenish overall with a raccoon-stripe on the eye, an iridescent gold stripe on the side and white tips on the tail fins.

Banded Rudderfish Illustration by Duane Raver, Jr.
Season Open Year-Round
Size Limit No Size Limit
Daily Limit / Person No Limit
Delaware Range Atlantic Ocean
Abundance in Delaware Waters Uncommon - this species is more common south of Delaware.
General Habitat and Food Preferences Adult Banded Rudderfish prefer shallower water than other amberjacks.

The Banded Rudderfish can be found over hard bottom and artificial reefs.

They feed on fishes, shrimps, and squids.
Did You Know? Because of their beautiful stripes, sometimes young Banded Rudderfish are displayed in saltwater aquariums.
Common Lures and Baits Anglers catch Banded Rudderfish by drifting with live bait fish, live shrimp, strips of squid, or pieces of cut fish.

Jigs tipped with a strip of squid or shiny spoons will also work.
Typical Sizes Caught In general, Banded Rudderfish caught by anglers weigh between 3 and 6 pounds.
Citation Minimum Length and Weight Banded Rudderfish are not currently eligible for a Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament or Live Release award, but a large specimen may qualify for an “Unusual Species” award.
Delaware State Record Banded Rudderfish are not currently eligible for an individual Delaware record.