5 Yellowtail Spearfishing Tips for SoCal

I Shouldn't Have Shot This Yellowtail... | Baja Spearfishing

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

  1. Smaller yellowtail hang out in schools and are curious so they’ll tend to swim close to you
  2. Larger yellowtail roam 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 either a flopper or slip tip depending on how big the fish is
  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 that’s 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.

Lots of guys seem to get yellows as consolation prizes when going out 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 and spearfishing enthusiast. He's been fishing since he was 5 years old in the backcountry of Yosemite for trout and in the surf near his home in SoCal. Over the past 4 years, he's been spearfishing up and down the coast of California. He started Cast and Spear to help inspire others to get outside and chase their dream fish. Notable catches include spearing a 65-pound white sea bass, large grouper, and yellowtail down in Baja. When he's not in the water, he's usually fishing from his Gregor Baja aluminum boat or inflatable Takacat catamaran.
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