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.
RANGE: All Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean.
HABITAT: The open sea, but frequently near dropoffs.