Yellowfin Tuna Fishing Overview

Yellowfin tuna are one of the treasures of the sea and a prized catch for many recreational anglers. Their bodies and meat have alternately been likened to perfection, with their bodies proving themselves as an incredibly athletic and pure fish and their taste being consistently top notch either raw or cooked. It can be hard to get out far enough for these pelagic fish, but the ride out is certainly worth it - you'll have great fights and great meals.

Recent Reviews

It was great even though we had a little bad weather. The Captain was awesome and put use on fish right when we left. The deck hand was great and helped everyone out and kept us going. I would so use them again and again.

JAMES C. with Harold Staples of Destin, Florida

Raul and Captain Pepe were awesome! Captain Pepe is one of the best fishermen I've ever fished with and often fishes in large tournaments. We caught a marlin and mahi-mahi and later got the mahi-mahi prepared to eat at a restaurant. The only critique is Captain Pepe's English wasn't very good if you weren't talking about fishing, but regardless he knew everything there is to know about fishing. Highly recommend.

Nicolas P. with Raul Solis of Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur

Absolutely, hands down the BEST experience!! Captain Lee and crew were awesome, fun, and great with the boys!! If you don’t go with this crew, you are missing out.

Jodye S. with Lee Crisler of Galveston, Texas

Captain Casey was very professional and knowledgeable. His 2 crew were very experienced, and his boat is a fishing machine. On our full day charter we experienced bad weather and had to cut the trip short. A minor leak in a tranny hose kept us from traveling at full speed on our return to the marina, so it took a little longer than expected. Casey offered us a free half day trip the following day, which i thought was a very professional way to handle this. Based on our short time in Cabo we couldnt take him up on this, so he reduced my fee to a half day charter. Again a very professional way to handle this. We didnt catch the fish we hoped for, but i have no issues with booking with Casey on my next trip to Cabo.

Dave E. with Casey Carter of Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur

Excellent trip with Captain Donnie! An experience every sportsman needs. Tails Up/Sea Cruiser will be my only go to when fishing out of Venice. Donnie is a true professional and will make sure you get on the fish no matter what it takes. His new Contender is a battle wagon and he and his crew are second to none.

Brad H. with Donnie Jackson of Venice, Louisiana

Want to give a big, "Thanks!" to Jonathan Newer at Captain Experiences for hooking me and my family up with Captain Mike Segall and Daisy of Reel Threel Charter out of Surfside Beach, TX. Captain Mike took us right where the fish were right off the bat on our first stop where we caught our limit of red snapper including a 32", 22 pounder! We were also able to "rescue" some king fish out of the water as well. We thoroughly enjoyed our time deep sea fishing and look forward to our next outing with Captain Experiences and Reel Threel.

Brock P. with Mike Segall of Surfside Beach, Texas

This trip was amazing! Captain Lee really worked hard to get us on the fish. We caught fish all day long - red snapper, king fish and even a mangrove snapper. We had the best time. In my honest opinion, Captain Lee is the best and has my highest recommendation. It's money well spent if you haven't booked with him or maybe thinking about it, I say do it. He's great! A great time with a great captain and crew.

Jill B. with Lee Crisler of Galveston, Texas

Capt. Emilio and his crew were professional, attentive, and knowledgeable. My son and I were given options regarding what kind of fishing we wanted to do and they obliged. I give Capt Emilio a very high recommendation and would definitely fish with him again.

David B. with Emilio Solis of South Padre Island, Texas

Having fished all over North America, I can say without a doubt that this was the easiest & most successful fishing venture I've ever been on! The awesome staff at Captain Experiences helped me understand which charter out of Cabo would be best for my group, and Captain Raul & his team led by Captain Pepe over delivered! We caught plenty of fish including some massive yellowtails, spent the sunrise watching enormous whales breach the surface, and wrapped up the day with some fresh sashimi from our catch. We had first-time fishers and lifelong anglers on the boat and everyone left in fantastic spirits! Looking forward to doing it all again on our next trip to Cabo!

Graham H. with Raul Solis of Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur

A great day on the water with a view of Old San Juan in the back ground. Boat was fully out fitted and the Captain and mate work like a well oiled machine. Great gear, fully stocked cooler, and and fish on. What more can you say?

Andrew C. with Angel Muntaner of San Juan, Puerto Rico

Everything You Need to Know About Yellowfin Tuna Fishing

What is a yellowfin tuna?

Yellowfin tuna (thunnus albacares) is found worldwide in tropical and subtropical waters, and is common throughout the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. It is a pelagic fish, and is among the larger of the many types of tuna. It is smaller than a bluefin and bigeye yet generally larger than a blackfin, skipjack, or albacore.

Yellowfin are distinguished from other tuna mainly by the crazy shape of their second dorsal and anal fins, which are bright yellow and extend out far from their bodies as long curved skinny fins. In mature fish these can extend quite a ways and reach back almost to the tail.

How big do yellowfin tuna get?

Yellowfin tuna will commonly reach maturity at around 2 years and 40 inches, and will weigh under 100 pounds. The fish live a relatively short lifespan of 5-10 years, but can reach upwards of 300 pounds in that span. They are certainly a much better prize than the blackfin they are often caught with.

Whats the biggest yellowfin tuna ever caught?

While yellowfin can purportedly get up to 94 inches and 440 pounds, the IGFA record currently stands at 388 pounds for a fish that was caught in 1977 off the Pacific coast of Mexico. There are a few challengers that have not been IGFA certified though, including a 405 pounder and a 425 pounder. Additionally, a massive 480 pounder was caught by spear in 2018 off the coast of the Dominican Republic. While this is not rod and reel fishing, it is certainly awesome to see such a beautiful fish and impressive to see the true potential of the size of a yellowfin.

Where is the best place to catch yellowfin tuna?

The biggest yellowfin tuna are known to be hanging around the Pacific side of Mexico, especially off the Baja Peninsula or Catalina Island. These are often targeted from San Diego in longer-range boats. Other common destinations include Puerto Vallarta, Hannibal Bank, Panama, Hawaii (where they are called Ahi), the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and Venice, LA (known for having very little travel time between marina and tuna).

Yellowfin are epipelagic, meaning they live in the open ocean, but are close to the surface where plenty of sunlight feeds plenty of plankton and life. They are usually in the top 300 ft of water.

When should I catch yellowfin tuna?

Yellowfin tuna will come closer to the shore when the water temperature is higher, so the best fishing is usually in warmer months. Because you need to head far offshore to catch them, you will also be relying on a good weather window and calm seas.

The season for yellowfin tuna in the US is always open, with the Carolinas, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi having a 27'' curved FL minimum (other states have no size regulations). The Carolinas and Mississippi have a 3 fish bag limit while California has a 20 finfish bag limit, with no more than 10 fish of a single species allowed (including yellowfin tuna). Other states have no yellowfin bag regulations.

How do you catch yellowfin tuna?

Yellowfin will be caught by either trolling baits and lures, sight casting, or jigging. You can chum them up to the surface (they usually aren't too far below). They are often schooled up, so when you're on them, stay put. They also tend to like some structure, and in the Gulf of Mexico tend to be found around offshore oil rigs.

Yellowfin have great eyesight so it is recommended to have fluorocarbon leaders to reduce visibility. In terms of lure, artificials are popular and you can use tuna feathers, rapala plugs, or metal jigs. If they're on the surface, you can use flies or poppers to good effect.

Once you get one on, it's a unique fight. Rather than wearing themselves out quickly, yellowfin (and all tuna) are notorious for their deep dive and circular motion - they'll swim downward in broad circles and pull on the line all the way up. They are a powerful fish and their size combined with their strategy for staying alive makes for a tough fight.

Are yellowfin tuna good to eat? What are the best yellowfin tuna recipes?

Yellowfin is a delicacy both raw or cooked. While not as popular as its relative the bluefin, yellowfin is fast becoming a sashimi treat. Eat the fish raw right after you catch, and cook into thick steaks after that.