Despite varying opinion about food value, the California yellowtail is generally highly regarded, with smaller fish receiving the better ratings.
How to identify a California Yellowtail
The yellowtail is easily recognized by its bright yellow tail and a characteristic brass colored stripe that runs along the median line of the flanks from the tip of the snout to the tail. It is closely related to the greater amberjack. It can be distinguished by the increased number of developed gill rakers, 21-28 on the first arch, while the amberjack has 11-16.
Where to catch California Yellowtail
The California yellowtail occurs in some abundance throughout the Gulf of California and along the Pacific coast of North America from Baja California, Mexico to Los Angeles, California. Less commonly, it has been reported farther north, and on rare occasions, as far north as Washington.The yellowtail is a coastal, schooling fish that sometimes enters estuaries. It has been reported to occur occasionally in very large schools in the Gulf of California. It feeds predominantly in the morning and late afternoon on small fishes, invertebrates, and pelagic crabs. Small to medium size fish generally undertake seasonal migrations. Larger individuals are more solitary and less migratory. The following list includes additional details on where to catch this fish: