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Difference between a Yellowtail and a Yellowfin Tuna

Yellowtail off Pacific West Coast are commonly confuses with Yellowfin Tuna. The main difference between the two fish is the California Yellowtail is a Jack and a cousin to the Amber Jack on the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico and the Yellowfin Tuna is a Tuna with a similar fork yellowtail probobly where the confusion occurs.

The Yellowfin Tuna is just one of many tuna's targeted from San Diego based sport boats. Bluefin, Big Eye, Albacore and Skipjack are all species of tuna in the same family as the Yellowfin (locally called "Ahi" in Hawaii) targeted from late Spring to Fall with best action usually from July to Sept. Large Yellowfin Tuna 200+lbs are referred to as "Cows" by the long range community and are usually caught as far north as Magdelena "Mag" Bay off the Baja Coast between Fall and Spring.

The explosive fighting Yellowtail peak season is summer months but early Spring Yellowtail from Southern California boats is not uncommon. 1/2 day and 3/4 day sportfishing party boats and start targeting these fish as soon as the sportfishing boats start seeing signs of surface action big game fish as just happened in early April 2011. Both Yellowfin Tuna and Yellowtail are excellent eating both as Sashimi as Wasabi or Hamachi. For more info on Yellowtail Catching Tips I wrote a article about them here.

The 2014 Yellowtail season is still charging along now into December witht he occasional slow-doen during rain runoff when the water dirties. With sea temps. over 100 miles offshore at Cortes Bank still reporting mid 60's, the bite at the Coronado Islands should continue well into Winter as the bigger homeguard size fish are now being caught in deeper water , many caught using the yo-yo techinique with iron jigs like Salas and Tady. - Rob -

Rob Mailly


Home page of Sportfish San Diego


Popular fishing article about "fishing the iron" - Iron jigs are one of the most popular ways of jig fishing from a deep sea fishing boat.

White Sea Bass fishing tips - Article Rob wrote how to catch White Sea bass from a Southern California deep sea fishing trip.

Yellowtail (Jack) Fishing Tips - How to catch the popular explosive fighting game fish Yellowtail.

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Calico Bass Q and A with CA Dept. of Fish and Game - Rob asked the CA Department of Fish and Game a few questions about growth and population health of the Calico Bass fishery off Southern California.

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Barracuda Fishing Tips - Article on Barracuda fishing tips out of Southern California sportfishing landings. 1997-2015
Carlsbad, CA