Yellowtail, Seriola lalandi

The Yellowtail, Seriola lalandi, whose common Spanish name is “Medregal Rabo Amarillo” and local name is “Yellowtail”, is a member of the Jack or Carangidae Family, known collectively as “Jureles and Pámpanos” in Mexico. The Yellowtail is also known as the Yellowtail Jack.

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

The Yellowtail reach a maximum length of 157 cm (5 feet 2 inches) and 109 pounds 2 oz (the current I.G.F.A. world record, with the fish being caught in Japanese waters in 2009). I have included a Yellowtail Weight From Length Conversion Table in this Website that allows you the pleasure of catching a fish, accurately determining its weight and then returning it to the ocean unharmed to live another day. Yellowtail are a wide-ranging (from British Columbia to Peru including all Mexican waters of the Pacific) circumglobal pelagic species found in large schools offshore at depths up to 985 feet. Their behavioral patterns are currently the focus of much scientific research.

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

The Yellowtail is a prime targeted game fish especially in northern Mexican waters but is quite rare and highly seasonal in the greater Los Cabos area showing up on rare occasions during periods of sub-70o water temperatures. They are common in the major fish markets in the greater Los Cabos area.

Yellowtail, Seriola lalandi: Caught off Palmilla Point, Baja Calfornia Sur, in 300-foot water, utilizing standard bottom gear in January 2011. Length: 86 cm (34 inches).
Yellowtail, Seriola lalandi: Caught off Palmilla Point, Baja Calfornia Sur, in 300-foot water, utilizing standard bottom gear, January 2011. Length: 86 cm (34 inches).