By Vic Jedlicka, SCYA Angler Chair
Our California Waters have been alive since May and June with the pelagic fish. Big Bluefin Tuna 100 LB plus have been line caught and speared.. Red Crabs a delicacy food for tuna have been abundant in our waters and washing up on the beaches. We have seen massive numbers of Yellowtail moving into the 150 spot and along the western slope of the Horseshoe. The reports continue to come in on tuna, yellowtail and Marlin catches. The season has started early and the excitement should build for the year 2015 as being one of the best ever. Get on the water now and do some serious catching.
Yellowtail is a prize game fish of Southern California. The power and aggressive fight along with the excellent table fare of the Yellowtail makes it a desired fish in our waters. They can grow to 80 pounds but are very rare over 40 lbs. They are truly fast, and powerful. After herding bait into tight balls, they sweep through schools of squid, mackerel, or anchovies with ferocity, gorging themselves on their prey. When they strike your bait or lure you know it instantly.
Typically, in early spring when the water temperature rises above about 62 degrees, The Yellowtail migrates into Southern California from Mexico in search of schools of squid. They winter far down the Baja coast in deep reefs. They feed throughout the summer as far North as the Santa Barbara coastline but seem to prefer the offshore islands. By October, they begin working themselves back South and usually seem to disappear during the winter. However, there are Yellowtail home guards that chose to spend the entire year in California, presumably to take advantage of the winter squid spawn, as evidenced by catches all winter.
They take just about any type of bait or lure. You can catch on trolling feathers while trolling past kelp beds or floating paddies that break loose from the main body of kelp. You can catch them with blue & white, green & yellow, squid purple, or mottled black bone jigs. They'll strike a plastic swim bait, especially when fished deep, in brown herring, blue shad, green sparkle or root beer colors. They'll hit an anchovy, a sardine and their favorite food, live squid.
Eating Yellowtail.......One of the reasons Yellowtail are so esteemed by fishermen is partly for their fight and partly for their delicious flavor. They have an oily white meat that may be grilled, broiled, baked, sautéed poached, or smoked, all with exceptional results. Very fresh Yellowtail make excellent sashimi, Just ice it down and slice it up for some melt-in-your-mouth flavor. Yellowtail keep well frozen, too, especially when vacuum packed. Get out there and catch these yellowtail that are abundant right now in our waters...