Yellowtail Fish: Where to Catch and More

The yellowtail fish is a popular sportfish, but it is also highly sought after for its meat. As a matter of fact, it’s so popular that you’ll find yellowtail farms across the globe to sustain the demand for the fish’s sweet and delectable flesh. And, if you frequent sushi restaurants, you might probably have had a taste of the famous Hamachi fish.

Fish Profile: Yellowtail Fish Overview

A picture of yellowtail fish leaping out of the water.
Scientific nameSeriola lalandi
Other namesYellowtail amberjack, great amberjack, California Yellowtail, Giant Yellowtail, King Amberjack, Yellowtail Kingfish
Appearance Elongated torpedo shape with a flattened and tall body
DietSquid and smaller fish
Average weight and lengthApprox. 35 kilograms and 2 meters when fully mature
HabitatSubtropical waters
Peak spawningBetween June and October
BehaviorLives in groups
Depth range3m-825m
Conservation statusLeast Concern

What Is a Yellowtail Fish?

Yellowtail fish is part of the Carangidae family and goes by different names like yellowtail amberjack or yellowtail kingfish. You can also call it Seriola lalandi if you prefer to call it by its scientific name.

This saltwater fish attracts many recreational and commercial fishers because it is easy to attract and swim in groups. Although their maximum depth range is 825 meters, you’ll find a few young yellowtail swimming around offshore water. They will eventually join shoals and swim closer to the ocean floor as they mature.

Fun fact: These fish migrate seasonally to breed and search for warm water during winter.

This type of fish has a high value in Japan because of its delicious meat. That has made it famous that other people raise them on farms around Japan, Australia, and South Korea.

Where to Catch a Yellowfish?

Yellowtail fish live in the Pacific Ocean’s tropical and temperate oceanic and salty waters. The highest concentration of these fish is around San Clemente and Catalina islands off Long Beach and Santa Monica bay. But, you can also find them in Baja California Sur, Mexico, especially in the summer when the waters are warm.

These fish are benthopelagic, meaning that they feed and live near the bottom of the water. However, you can sometimes find them mid-waters or near the water surface when searching for food.

For the highest probability of catching the fish, you should look around rock reefs, over kelp beds, and other structures underwater.

What Does A Yellowtail Fish Look Like?

The yellowtail fish has a tall, slender, and flattened torpedo-shaped body. Its back has blue-green scales, while its underbelly is silver. As for its pectoral, dorsal, anal, pelvic, and caudal fins, they are yellow. It also has a bronzy stripe that runs along its lateral line.

The most common size of a yellowtail fish is one meter, weighing around 10 kilograms. However, you might get lucky and catch a 2-meter fish weighing 35 kilograms.

What Do Yellowtail Fish Eat?

Yellowfish are predatory fish. They hunt sardines and herring, squid, and shrimp usually at the bottom of the ocean, but they sometimes come to the surface for food.

When they are still young, their diet largely consists of plankton and other smaller prey. On the other hand, farm-raised yellowtail fish eat commercial fish food pellets.

The main predators for these fish are sea lions, sharks, and humans. However, echinoderms, crabs, mollusks, and other fish eat their eggs.

How Does Yellowtail Fish Reproduce?

Like the dorado fish or the ballyhoo, yellowtail breed through spawning. This means the females lay the eggs, and the males fertilize them externally.

Fun fact: The sexual maturity of a female and male yellowtail fish is about two to three years.

Female yellowtail fish can only produce approximately 150 eggs, and only about 100 of those will be successfully fertilized. After fertilization, the larvae will hatch around 4-5 days or 103-108 hours. The larvae do not have a digestive system and eyes; they will develop it around four days upon hatching.

How Do You Catch a Yellowtail Fish?

Yellowtail are strong and fast swimmers, making catching them challenging. However, if you know the tricks and where to look, you can catch a few. You can even use either artificial or live bait.

Since most of them live in the deep waters, you can attract them to the surface by throwing in some chum. If you want to catch the bigger fish, you should use a heavy tackle that will not break easily as the fish struggles.

You should also not reel too forcefully or fast to avoid alarming the fish, making it struggle harder. You should also wear gloves when fishing, as holding on to the braid with your bare hands for too long might cause damage.

Yellowtail Fish FAQ

What Is the Best Bait for Yellowtail Fishing?

While you can use either artificial or live bait, you should always opt for the latter. The live bait’s fast and erratic movement will attract the fish faster than the artificial bait.

How Much Line Do You Need for Yellowtail Fishing?

Since most of them live in deep waters, you will need approximately 250 feet of line for yellowtail fishing.

What Kind of Line Do You Use for Yellowtail?

The best kind of line you use for yellowtail is a sixty-pound braided line. It has fewer chances of breaking even if you catch a big fish.


Whether you are catching yellowtail for sport or dinner, one thing is for sure – it is one of the most highly sought-after fish. And, remember, yellowtail fish are fast and strong. You’ll need the proper fishing rig and gear to catch one successfully!