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The yellowfin tuna is among the larger tuna species, reaching weights of over 400 pounds (180 kg), but is significantly smaller than the Atlantic and Pacific bluefin tunas, which can reach over 1,000 pounds (450 kg), and slightly smaller than the bigeye tuna and the southern bluefin tuna.
Both second dorsal fin and the anal fin, as well as the finlets between those fins and the tail, are bright yellow, giving this fish its common name. The second dorsal and anal fins can be very long in mature specimens, reaching almost as far back as the tail and giving the appearance of sickles or scimitars. The pectoral fins are also longer than the related bluefin tuna, but not as long as those of the albacore. The main body is very dark metallic blue, changing to silver on the belly, which has about 20 vertical lines.
Yellowfin tuna are epipelagic fish that inhabit the mixed surface layer of the ocean above the thermocline. These tuna are a really popular sport fish due to their speed and strength when caught on rod and reel. Some anglers will attest that they are the fastest and strongest of all big game tunas.
Like all tuna they pull hard for their size. When you get them near the boat they turn sideways and swim in large circles making it a long process to get them in the boat. It’s virtually impossible to horse the larger ones in quickly no matter what tackle you are using.
Yellowfin Tuna can be caught with bait and lures and many techniques will work. These tuna often feed near the surface so topwater techniques can be used. Like all tuna they have really good eyesight and fluorocarbon leaders can be used to reduce tackle visibility. This also has the added bonus of abrasion resistance. For trolling, you can try plastic skirted trolling lures, deep diving and medium diving lures all work well. We suggest anglers replace treble hooks with single or double hooks as they are less likely to bend or shake them off.
If you find a school of feeding fish you can cast lures right into the middle of them. One fun way to catch them is with poppers. Both traditional chugger/popper type lures retrieved in a “pop-pop-pause” rhythm. These lures can also skipped over the surface on a steady retrieve.
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