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Home > Learn to Fish & Boat > Fish Species > Fish Detail
Despite varying opinion about food value, the California yellowtail is generally highly regarded, with smaller fish receiving the better ratings.
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.
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:
The yellowtail is a fast swimmer and it will viciously strike baits and lures then make a long, hard run and sometimes two or three shorter runs before the fish is boated. Fishing methods include trolling or casting with live baits or with lures. The yellowtail’s habit of driving bait fish up against the shore makes casting from the beach possible at times. The advice of experts is to allow time for the bait to be swallowed, and then strike the fish hard. Fishing with circle hooks will increase the chance of a solid hookup. The following are fishing methods used to catch this fish:
The following are lures, tackle or bait that can be used to catch this fish:
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