Yellowfin tuna can be found in subtropical and tropical waters around the world, with a range extending approximately from 40 degrees north latitude to 35 degrees south latitude, and they are absent from the Mediterranean Sea.
Yellowfin tuna mostly range throughout the upper water column, typically at depths of less than 330 feet, but can dive to depths over 1,000 meters below the surface.
Top yellowfin tuna fishing spots in California include Catalina Island, Baja California, and the coasts of San Diego, with popular spots being 9 Mile Bank, 43 Fathom Bank, and San Clemente Island.
Yellowfin tuna have colorful, torpedo-shaped bodies with metallic blue upper bodies, white bellies and faces, and yellow-streaked anal and dorsal fins, as well as a yellow stripe along each side of their bodies above the pectoral fins.
Yellowfin tuna feed on bony fish, squid, and crustaceans, using a combination of power and speed to catch fast prey, and can swim at nearly 47 miles per hour.
Yellowfin tuna are medium-sized tuna, with an average length of 3-4 feet and weight of 33-66 pounds, although they can grow larger. In California, sport fishers typically catch yellowfin tuna weighing between 15 and 40 pounds, with occasional catches exceeding 100 pounds.
The largest yellowfin tuna ever caught on a lure in California weighed 265 pounds, caught in 2017 by Bo Scanlon, while the largest yellowfin tuna caught in California while free-diving weighed 66 pounds, 7 ounces, caught in 2016 by Paul Romanowski.
The unofficial record for the largest yellowfin tuna ever caught on a lure belongs to angler John Petrescu, who caught a 445-pound, 84-inch-long yellowfin tuna near Hurricane Bank off Baja, Mexico, in December 2012. However, the International Game Fish Association did not recognize Petrescu's record because he required help from the boat's captain to handle the rod and bring in the fish.