Skipjack Tuna, Katsuwonus pelamis: The Skipjack Tuna is one of the most rare yet feisty members of the Scombridae or Tuna, Bonito, and Mackerel Family found in Mexican waters.
The Skipjack Tuna is characterized by its “tuna-like” appearance that is dark blue on its back and silver on its flank and belly. It has a series of four to six horizontal-diagonal stripes along its upper sides, and no spots between the pelvic and pectoral fins. The Skipjack Tuna might be confused with the Black Skipjack, Eurhynnus lineatus (which has 5 to 6 horizontal stripes along its upper sides but has distinguishing black spots or botches between its pelvic and pectoral fins); the Striped Bonito, Sarda orientalis (8 to 11 broken horizontal stripes along its sides, and no spots), and the Eastern Pacific Bonito, Sarda chilensis (five to six oblique dark stripes on upper back and no spots).
The Skipjack Tuna is a coastal pelagic schooling species that is found near offshore reefs. In Mexican fishing waters, it is only found between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz on the Baja California Sur coast, south of Acapulco on the mainland, and around all oceanic islands.
The Skipjack Tuna is normally found at all depths of the water column. The “all-tackle world record,” caught in Mexican waters stands as of 2004 at 47.2 inches and 41.6 pounds, with a length of 47.2 inches. The Skipjack is normally an incidental catch on live sardines, rapidly trolled feathers or hootchies, or off the bottom with chrome yo-yo iron. For their size they put up a horrific fight. The Skipjack Tuna is viewed by locals as a good food fish similar in nature to the Yellowfin Tuna. The meat is dark and not appealing, but is very tasty and nutritious.