Deep Sea Fishing For Yellowtail

Deep sea fishing for Yellowtail is an incredibly popular sport so if you want to give it a try, here’s some invaluable information.


The California Yellowtail and the Southern Yellowtail are members of the Jack family and neither are easy to catch with either real or rod.

As the name implies, Yellowtail can be found in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of central and southern California.

How To Catch Yellowtail

There are a variety of methods for catching Yellowtail, just as with other fish and several types of lures and bait. The most usual bait is squid, sardines, mackerel and the favorite, anchovies.

Jig Fishing

Before we go further I’ll explain jig fishing or jigging. You probably guessed that it means fishing with a jig which is a type of lure comprising a lead sinker with a molded hook normally covered with some sort of soft material which catches the attention of the fish. A jig is used for a vertical, uneven motion unlike spinners which are pulled through the water horizontally.

The depth for jig fishing could be anything up to 200 feet, the idea being that you drop your lure to the bottom then bring it up four to six feet and drop it to the bottom again. Do this a few times then quickly bring the lure right back up to the surface.

When you feel a bite, carry on reeling in your line but once the fish is swimming away from you, make sure that the hook is secure.

Alternatively you can use a surface iron which is a lightweight jig which is usually used in conjunction with a live squid and which is drawn through the water much more slowly.

Using Live Bait

Squid – hook through the squid at the back end (the pointed bit). Be aware though that a Yellowtail can swallow squid very quickly so don’t let them go far before you hook them.

Anchovies – Because of their size, use a lighter line and smaller hook. Hook through behind the gill or through the mouth.

Sardines – Again, use lighter line and a smaller hook through the mouth or above the tail.

Your Transport

Obviously, to catch Yellowtail, you’ll need to charter a boat. Choose a company that specializes in fishing, preferably Yellowtail so that they’ll have equipment and storage on board for your catch. Some companies will allow you to skipper the boat yourself but if you want to enjoy the fishing, it’s worth splashing out on a captain and maybe extra crew to help out, particularly if you catch something much bigger than a Yellowtail!

Follow these tips and you’ll soon be landing your first Yellowtail so enjoy!
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