How to fish for yellowtail in San Diego.

Yellowtail are the most popular fish to target in San Diego. Especially in Late spring to fall when the waters are warmer. The average around 10-20 pounds but can get up to the 70 pound range for the biggest trophy size fish. Yellowtail are prized for their emmense fighting power and their meat. They are delicious in dishing ranging from sushi to grilled filets. In this article I will describe the most popular techniques to catch and land the famous yellowtail.

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ROD: For yellowtail I would recommend a medium to medium heavy rod anywhere between 7 ft and 8 ft with a heavier rod used for heavy jigging and other lures. You can use a lighter rod for when the bite isn’t very aggressive.

REEL: When the bite isn’t very agressive you can use any decent reel spooled with 12-20 lb test as long as it has a decent drag system. For when you want to use bigger baits such as sardines or mackeral a bigger reel spooled with anywhere between 25-50 lb test is the way to go. If you’re fishing in the kelp then a 50 lb test line and heavy reel is the way to catch them.

LIVE BAIT: When fishing for yellowtail live bait always seems to be best way to catch them, especially on half day and three-quarter day trips out. When fishing with live bait placement is always key. Keep an eye out for hunting birds in the sky and bait balls on top of the water. The bait balls are the best way to find the fish. When you find the bait balls cast your bait right into the middle of it and be ready for the fight of your life.

SURFACE: Surface irons are a great rush when fishing for yellowtail. When fishing surface irons go with a lead or iron color. If that color isn’t working then feel free to switch to a color that the other anglers are using to catch fish. A Tady 45 is a solid lure for surace irons and I would get a variety of colors. When reeling in keep a fast retrieve and a pop every now and then.

DEEP JIGGING: Heavy metal jigs tend to out preform surface techniques especially out in Mexico and the warmers waters. I would recomment an Ironman 3 or 5 and a Tady AA or 9 for deep jigging. Trolling plugs also works well in the spring when the yellowtail haven’t stuck to a structure yet.

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I hope this guide helps you choose your tackle and techniques for when you catch your first or your next yellowtail!