Best Lures for California Yellowtail: The Ultimate Guide

March 25, 2021

Best Lures for California Yellowtail: The Ultimate Guide

Adult California Yellowtail are often targeted by California sea lions, sharks, and humans. They can be found near kelp beds, offshore islands, and rocky reefs. California Yellowtail have healthy appetites and feeds on flying fish, anchovies, herring, sardine, and squid. So what are the best lures for California Yellowtail?

Glad you asked! In this article, we’ll go over our top 8 best lures for California Yellowtail as well as how to fish them properly. Let’s dive in!

In a Hurry? Here’s Our Favorites…


Best Lures for California Yellowtail

1. PROBEROS Fishing Spoon Lure


This metal casting spoon from PROBEROS offers loads of versatility. It is ideal for targeting California Yellowtail and numerous other types of saltwater species. They offer unmatched quality and durability and are beautifully constructed from premium zinc alloy.

These hard metal casting spoons are equipped with Super Sharp Anti-Corrosion High Carbon Steel Treble Hooks and realistic swimming action. Colors include gold and silver, and there are numerous size options available to suit any fishing conditions. These also are a great option for Albacore Tuna and Skipjack Tuna.


2. Yo-Zuri Crystal 3D Minnow Deep Diver Jointed Lure


I absolutely love the Yo-Zuri Crystal 3D Deep Diving Jointed Minnow Lure. This lure is simply stunning, with high levels of attention to detail. It features a brilliant internal 3D prism, double stainless steel hinges combined with new generation Yo-Zuri’s proven Crystal Minnow.

It can achieve depths of 12ft, has a length of 5-1/4in, and weighs 7/8oz. This lure is offered in a fantastic “Blue Tiger” color and has been designed to imitate a blue Mackerel perfectly.


3. THKFISH Silver Fishing Spoon


This spoon was originally designed to target Trout, Salmon, and other species of freshwater fish. But, it can also be used to successfully target California Yellowtail, Opah, and numerous other types of saltwater species. It is offered in a quality 30 piece set and is manufactured from premium iron and zinc materials. This high-quality lure resists corrosion, breaking, and bending.

These lures go through a vigorous smoothing process to ensure a rapid retrieval action which offers loads of flash. The THNKFISH Silver Ice Fishing Spoon is rigged with a quality super-sharp treble hook and weighs 1/6oz.


4. Acme Kastmaster Lure with BuckTail


Acme has come with a fantastic lure, with a take on the original and classic bucktail jig. This lure is wonderfully designed and offers authentic BuckTail with a super-strong premium hook. It weighs two ounces and is well presented with a vibrant Chrome Blue color combination.

This lure is extremely versatile and can be used for various salt and freshwater fishing species – like mackerel, Blackfin Tuna, and Kahawai. When targeting California Yellowtail, a fast and rapid retrieval is recommended. It offers excellent casting capabilities and can be fished at any depth.


5. Rapala X-Rap Saltwater Fishing Lure


This lure from Rapala is incredible and known to get fish. It hasn’t been designed to get down deep, but if you happen to be fishing shallow reefs at low tide, it can be highly effective. You can use it to target California Yellowtail and numerous types of saltwater species.

The Rapala X-Rap Saltwater Fishing Lure features an integrated long-casting system that partners up with the X-Rap’s irresistible rattle. This lure is hand-tuned and tank-tested and features beautiful holographic inserts.

It is built to withstand abuse from large fish and offers a hard-cutting, aggressive swimming/darting action that fish find irresistible. The Rapala X-Rap Saltwater Fishing Lure perfectly imitates a Mackerel with vibrant colors of blue and silver.  


6. Lucky CraftFlash Minnow Lure


Lucky Craft Fishing Lures are notorious for quality and innovation, and the Flash Minnow 110 lure is no different. It is offered in an exquisite Metallic Sardine imitation and is classified as a slow-suspending lure. It has a length of 4.5in (110mm) and a weight of 5/8oz (16.5g).

The Lucky Craft Flash Minnow 110 Fishing Lure can achieve depths of 1-2ft (0.5m) and comes rigged with quality #6 VMC hooks. This lure is ideal for targeting California Yellowtail and numerous other types of saltwater species.


7. Lucky Craft Blue FlashMinnow Lure



The Salt Water Flash Minnow 110 Super Glow Cherry Dine is another innovative lure from Lucky Craft. It features the same technology and quality as the original Flash Minnow 110. This lure has a length of 4.5in (110mm) and a weight of 5/8oz (16.5g).

There is loads of attention to detail, and it is beautifully presented in multiple colors. Also rigged with quality #6 VMC hooks, it can achieve a diving depth of 1-2ft (0.5m). The Lucky Craft Flash Minnow 110 Super Glow Cherry Dine offers an attractive swimming action and is ideal for targeting California Yellowtail and other types of saltwater sport fish.


8. U/S Silver Jig Saltwater Lures


This value pack offers loads of variety and is great for any fishing arsenal. These metal lures offer extreme versatility and can be used to catch a wide range of fish, including Sailfish, California Yellowtail, Salmon, Una, Grouper, Squid, and Kingfish.

They are offered in five extremely vibrant and reflective colors, have a length of 2.7in (6.7cm) and a weight of 18g. These metal lures come professionally rigged with a Carbon Steel Needle Sharpened hook and a premium Stainless Steel Split Ring. They also feature 3D realistic eyes and a Super Slim Body Design, which offers low and high-speed jigging capabilities.


How to Catch California Yellowtail

California Yellowtail can be targeted using three different fishing methods. The first and most popular method is by jigging metal spoons in deep water, above reef and rocky outcrop. California Yellowtail prefers spoons to live bait, and choosing the correct spoon is vital.

Drop a relatively heavy jig like a Salas 6X or Tady 4/0 all the way to the bottom of the ocean, and simply retrieve as fast as you can, with an occasional pause. This high-speed retrieval will trigger the California Yellowtail to attack your jig.

The second method is trolling live bait along the shoreline and just behind the back-line. Generally, there are numerous reefs in this area and a perfect location to target California Yellowtail. The third method is down-rigging dead bait and fishing these same areas. Dead bait can be slow-trolled or fished off an anchored ski-boat.


What is the Best Live Bait for California Yellowtail?

Generally, predatory fish will eat most fish species that can be found within their habit, but they do tend to have their favorites. In the case of the California Yellowtail, the Sardine and Mackerel come out on top. California Yellowtail loves these baits and should always be a preferred live bait choice.


What is the Best Dead Bait for California Yellowtail?

California Yellowtail can be targeted using dead baits like Mackerel, Sardines, and Anchovies. When the water is colder, they tend to be less active and feed less. A squid is a good option due to its pungent smell and high oil levels. When targeting California Yellowtail with dead bait, it is advisable to allow additional fishing time as they don’t attack dead bait that often.


More California Yellowtail Facts

California Yellowtail found in temperate waters along the Eastern Pacific, from Mexico to Southern Washington. They can achieve impressive lengths of up to 2.5m and a weight of around 36kg. The heaviest California Yellowtail on record weighed 41.3kg (91.1lb).

They have a blue body with silversides, featuring a beautiful bronze stripe that runs along the lateral line. California Yellowtail is relatively fast-growing with a lifespan of only 5-6 years, with a maximum of around 12 years. Females spawn during the summer months, from June to October. They will spawn multiple times during this season. However, younger females only spawn once.

The eggs and larvae are constantly under threat and are preyed on by fish, crabs, mollusks, and echinoderms. California Yellowtail is a highly sought-after sportfish, both commercially and recreationally.

Populations appear to be healthy, and no decline in size has been detected. Within the ecosystem, California Yellowtail are secondary and tertiary consumers. Their presence is vital and helps to keep the balance between predator and prey in the ocean.


Conclusion

California Yellowtail can be found along the Eastern Pacific, from Mexico to Southern Washington. The habitat beaches, reefs, and rocky outcrop. They have a blue body with silversides, featuring a beautiful bronze stripe that runs along the lateral line. This species is relatively fast-growing and has a lifespan of around 5-6 years.

They can achieve impressive lengths of up to 2.5m and a weight of around 36kg. The heaviest California Yellowtail on record weighed 41.3kg (91.1lb). California Yellowtail have healthy appetites and feeds on flying fish, anchovies, herring, sardine, and squid. They can be targeted using spoons, metal jigs, and hard-bodied sinking lures.

The best live bait to use is Sardine and Mackerel, while the preferred dead bait of choice is Mackerel, Sardines, Anchovies, and Squid. California Yellowtail are secondary and tertiary consumers. Their presence is vital and helps to keep the balance between predator and prey in the ocean. The California Yellowtail population seems to be stable, with no signs of being overfished or threatened. Yellowtail also taste great!

 We hope you enjoyed this article on the best lures for California Yellowtail.

 Happy Hunting!

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