5 Yellowtail Spearfishing Tips for SoCal

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Yellowtail are awesome fish to target in Southern California and in Baja.

In other parts of the world, they are called Kingfish, and if you want more information on fish biology, check out our yellowtail fish guide.

Listen to Tips for Shooting Baja’s Best Fish and What You Need for a Baja Spearfishing Trip on the Cast & Spear Podcast

5 Yellowtail Spearfishing Tips

Here are spearfishing tips to know:

  1. Smaller yellowtail hangs out in schools and are curious, so they’ll tend to swim close to you.
  2. Larger yellowtail roams solo or in smaller groups and are a bit harder to entice to get close.
  3. Use a flasher to bring the fish in close.
  4. You can use a flopper or slip tip, depending on the fish’s size.
  5. Look for yellowtail under kelp patties in SoCal in warmer months. Homeguards can be found in winter, but it’s rare.

Spearfishing Hunting Techniques

Flashers are one of the best tools for attracting kingfish or yellowtail in close for a shot. You can use throw flashers where you throw it out away from you and wait for it to sink 20-30 feet, then go down and look for the fish.

You can also make a flasher attached to a float using pom poms and pull the string to make it look like squid or shiny fish are active.

Listen to more spearfishing tips on the Cast & Spear Podcast

Hunting Yellowtail in SoCal

SoCal spearfishing for yellowtail is generally a bit more challenging than Baja. San Diego seems to produce more than up in my part of town, but Catalina is a good spot to check out during the spring and summer months.

My buddy did land an 18-pounder in January out at Catalina a few years back, so it’s possible.

Many guys seem to get yellows as consolation prizes when looking for tuna. When in doubt, check under a patty. There’s a good chance at least smaller ones are under there.

Speargun Setup for Yellowtail

Your speargun should be able to pack a punch. A 120mm three-band traditional gun would do the job for most medium fish. The largest I’ve shot with a small 100cm pipe gun was 34.5 pounds, but I don’t recommend it.

Float lines are safer, especially if you’re out in blue water, but a reel is also manageable.

Listen to more spearfishing tips on the Cast & Spear Podcast

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing enthusiast. He has over 25 years of fishing experience, and 6 years of spearfishing experience, and is currently learning how to boat. Jon has his Open Water PADI Certification and FII Freediver Level 1 Certification. Jon has traveled the world to fish and dive, most notably in the Great Barrier Reef, Baja Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. More Articles
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Articles » Saltwater Fishing » 5 Yellowtail Spearfishing Tips for SoCal