Yellowtail

Yellowtail, Seriola lalandi

The Yellowtail, Seriola lalandi, whose common Spanish name is medregal rabo amarillo and whose local name is yellowtail, is a member of the Jack or Carangidae Family, known collectively as jureles and pámpanos in Mexico. This fish is also known as the Yellowtail Jack. There are nine global members of the genus Seriola, six of which are found in Mexican waters, three in the Atlantic, two in the Pacific, and this species in both oceans.

The Yellowtails have elongated compressed fusiform bodies that are wide in the middle and taper at both ends and have a depth that is 20 to 24% of standard length; their body has an  aerodynamic shape with similar upper and lower profiles. They are blue on their upper back and flank and silvery to white on their belly. They have a narrow bronze stripe along the middle of their body that transitions to yellow posteriorly. Their fins are yellow. Their head has a long pointed snout and their mouth ends under the front edge of the pupils. Their caudal fin base has a slightly fleshy keel on each side. Their first dorsal fin has 7 or 8 spines and its fin base is much shorter than the second dorsal fin base. They have short pectoral fins. They have no isolated finlets after their second dorsal and anal fins. Their lateral line has a slight arch over the pectoral fin. They have 19 to 22 gill rakers and no scutes.

The Yellowtails are a pelagic species found offshore in large schools at depths up to 985 feet. They reach a maximum of 1.57 meters (5 feet 2 inches) in length and 49.5 kg (109 pounds 2 oz) in weight, which is the current IGFA world record, with this fish being caught in Japanese waters in 2009. Their behavioral patterns are currently the focus of extensive scientific research.

The Yellowtails are are a wide-ranging and circumglobal species found from British Columbia to Peru, including in all Mexican waters of the Pacific.

The Yellowtail is a close relative of the Amberjack (Almaco Jack), Seriola rivoliana (less aerodynamic; no body stripe; diagonal stripe through eye) and is similar in size and shape to the much smaller Fortune Jack, Seriola peruana (short snout; mouth ending under pupil; no bars or stripes on head or body; dark fins; overall bronze appearance). This species is sometimes confused with a much larger subspecies, Seriola lalandi lalandi which resides in the South Pacific.

The Yellowtails are a prime target of game fishing especially in northern Mexican waters but are quite rare and highly seasonal in the greater Los Cabos area showing up occasionally during periods of sub-70oF water temperatures. They are common in the major fish markets of the greater Los Cabos area.

Length versus Weight Chart:Yellowtail Weight From Length Conversion Table is included in this website to allow the accurate determination of a fish’s weight from its length and to hopefully promote its rapid and unharmed return to the ocean.

Yellowtail, Seriola lalandi.  Underwater photo taken in coastal waters off San Diego, CA, HI, November 2017. Length: 26 cm (10 inches). Photo courtesy of Bob Hillis, Ivins, UT. Identifications courtesy of Dan Fuller, San Diego, CA.

Yellowtail, Seriola lalandi. Fish caught from coastal waters off Newport Beach, California, October 2015. Length: 28 cm (11 inches). Catch, photo, and identification courtesy of Ben Cantrell, Peoria, IL.

Yellowtail, Seriola lalandi.  Underwater photo taken in coastal waters off San Diego, CA, HI, November 2017. Length: 71 cm (28 inches). Photo courtesy of Bob Hillis, Ivins, UT.

Yellowtail, Seriola lalandi. Fish caught from coastal waters off Palmilla Point, Baja California Sur, January 2011. Length: 86 cm (34 inches).