California Yellowtail is a beautiful and extremely hard fighting fish, known for its dirty tactics once hooked. It is a favourite amongst the jigging fraternity. Originally seperate species wer e recognised between the Southern and Californian Yellowtail, this is no longer the case. However some sportfishing associations, such as the igfa continue to hold seperate records. For information on the Southern Yellowtail (Yellowtail Kingfish) see http://www.myfishingplace.com.au/fish/kingfish-yellowtail
California Yellowtail are a very streamlined, torpedo-shaped fish with a solid and powerful body. They are sometimes confused with the Amberjack and/or Samson fish, however the California Yellowtail has a yellow tail for which it is named, the other two don't. They are blue-purple (or Greeny-purple) above the lateral line to the snout, its belly is silver, and it has a distinctive yellow-gold band that separates the silver and the bluey-purple. They can grow over 50kgs. Although there is some argument that there is only one species of Yellowtail, we are recognizing the separate subspecies as to fit in with IGFA records. See also Yellowtail Kingfish
Schooling yellowtail (up to about 15kgs) can be berleyed up to the boat and then either bait cast to them or lures. Live baits for yellowtail are best and include live squid, yakkas, pike, sweep, garfish and no yellowtail can resist a live slimie mackerel! They will at times take dead bait such as pilchards of fillets of fish such as Tuna (Mack tuna are good as very oily) however live bait is always best. They will also readily take lures and surface poppers when the yare burleyed to the surface. Soft plastics are also popular around inshore reefs and bommies. Land Based Game (LBG) is also very popular for yellowtail, however make sure you up spec you equipment as they can be hard to stop around the rocks and quickly head for the nearest reef or bommies when hooked. Jigging for Yellowtail has become very popular in the last few years and they hit large metal knife jigs extremely hard and fight right to the boat. Again tackle needs to be of the best quality as when they hit those jigs and realized they are hooked they will head straight for the bottom.
California Yellowtail occur throughout the Gulf of California and along the Pacific Coast of North America from Baja California, Mexico to Los Angeles California. Yellowtail love offshore reefs, pinnacles, deep bays and estuaries. The particularly inhabit strong structure such as reef bommies, wrecks, wharves and bridge pylons. Young fish (to about 7kgs) school in large numbers, whereas big fish become more solitaire. Yellowtail like cleaner water.