Yellowfin Tuna

Know Your Sportfish

Fin identification helps to correctly identify your catch. *Click to enlarge.

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Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: A great many kinds of fish are protected by conservation laws that may include licenses, daily bag limits, possession limits, minimum and maximum size limits, permitting and other legal requirements. Many different jurisdictions and agencies are involved in managing the fisheries—at least a half-dozen in Florida alone, to say nothing of other countries—and their regulations sometimes conflict.

In Florida, information is available from such sources as Florida Sportsman Magazine, county courthouses and many tackle shops. Visitors to Florida or the Islands usually are able to get the needed information from their travel agents, resorts, fishing camps or charter captains. Visit or for the most current fisheries regulations.

Yellowfin Tuna


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The Yellowfin Tuna, Thunnus albacares 

Distinguishing the Yellowfin Tuna from the Blackfin or Bigeye is sometimes difficult as many visual features are similar. Finlets of the Yellowfin are yellow, trimmed in black. Gold stripe along side. Light underside usually shows spots and/or wavy lines. Second dorsal and anal fins of very large individuals are elongated and lunate—a feature not found on any other Tuna.

SIZE: May run anywhere from a few pounds to more than 200 pounds. Maximum close to 400. World record 388 pounds, 12 ounces; Florida record 240 pounds.

FOOD VALUE: One of the best.

GAME QUALITIES: Second only to Bluefin Tuna, and only because of smaller size

TACKLE AND BAITS: Heavy outfits are indicated—50- or 80-pound. But light and medium ocean outfits are often used. Most are probably caught trolling with offshore trolling lures or rigged baits, but in certain areas the best approach is to anchor on a reef near deep blue water and bring in the fish by chumming with Pilchards or similar small baitfish. In that situation they can also be hooked by casting artificial lures with spinning, baitcasting and fly tackle—and landed, if the size is right and luck is with the angler.

FISHING SYSTEMS: Trolling; Still Fishing; Drifting.

Allison Tuna


RANGE: All Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

HABITAT: The open sea, but frequently near dropoffs.