May 05, 2013
The Yellowtail Snapper, Ocyurus chrysurus
Identified by a yellow stripe that runs the full length of the body from forward of the eye to the deeply forked yellow tail. The stripe is vivid in young fish, but pales with maturity. Color above the line is bluish with yellow patches; silvery white below. No prominent teeth as in most other Snappers.
From less than a foot in coastal shallows to an average of 1-3 pounds on deep reefs. “Flags” running as heavy as 4 or 5 pounds are common, and a few run to 7 or 8 pounds. World record 11 pounds; Florida record 8 pounds, 9 ounces.
Excellent if fresh or well-iced.
Pound-for-pound, among the best of reef fishes. Because most are hooked high in the water column, they usually make long, strong runs. Yellowtail are masters at cutting lines on the edge of a dropoff, or fouling them on high reef growth.
TACKLE AND BAITS
Undersize fish in the shallows will greedily hit nearly any bait or lure. Yellowtails of decent size, however, are almost always caught in outside reef areas. They are among the wariest of biters, generally requiring lighter lines, leaders, hooks and sinkers than the angler would really like to use. Regulars mostly try to get by with spinning tackle and 15-pound line, but on many days must go to 12-pound lines or smaller, to produce or sustain any action. Small dead baits—cut fish, cut squid and pieces of shrimp catch the most Yellowtails because those baits are similar in size and buoyancy to the ground chum that is used to lure them close and turn on their appetites. In many areas of the Bahamas and Caribbean, Yellowtail are caught by trolling a variety of lures, or by casting with small jigs, and even flies. Best luck anywhere is likely to come at night.
Still Fishing; Drifting;Trolling.
Flag Tail Rabirubia
Yellowtail are common only in South Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean, although odd catches are made in other areas of the state, especially offshore Gulf reefs.
Small fish grow up around shallow coastal reefs and patches. Best fishing depths in most areas are 60 to about 120 feet, with nearly all the “Flags” coming from the deepest habitat. Yellowtail school heavily and hang around dropoffs or humps.
Forum member miami mutton has been limiting out on yellowtails lately, here's a nice one he shared with us.
Duck Key Yellowtail
Forum member TeamTeke shows off a nice yellowtail snapper caught on the reef off of Duck Key.
Two young anglers showing off their prized catches.
Yellowtail were biting offshore
Another picture posted by forum member Got TA Go of his buddy with a good size yellowtail.
Pepe with Snappers
Capt. Pepe Gonzalez holds up a combo of mangrove and yellowtail snapper.
FS member with a nice yellowtail
Got TA Go
Florida Sportsman member Got TA Go sent in a pic of a friend with a nice Keys yellowtail.
Key West Yellowtails
FS Member Got TA Go posted this yellowtail snapper catch from off Key West.
December 15, 2011. Russ Hull caught this 22- inch yellowtail snapper five miles off Key West.
Florida Sportsman member miami mutton posted this photo of a flag yellowtail snapper off Miami.
South Dade Yellowtails
Florida Sportsman member miami mutton caught these two flag yellowtail snapper off of south Dade.
FS Member duke6543 posted this photo of a snapper combo, caught on a Marquesas/Dry Tortuga trip.
This yellowtail snapper was just a bit too short to keep.
Fooling the Fish
Hunter Cole of Penn Tackle Co. fooled a big yellowtail with fluorcarbon leader during a trip to Bimini, The Bahamas.
Snapper for Dinner
Yellowtail snapper, on the left, and hogfish.