There are many species of wild tuna to be found all over the world. Some of the finest and most desirable species, including the world famous Yellowfin, can be found in the Gulf of Mexico. Whether you are a beginning angler or an accomplished expert, the waters off the coast of Louisiana are filled with some of the finest specimens of Yellowfin on Earth.
Where Can the Yellowfin Most Commonly Be Found?
Yellowfin are found in waters all over the planet, with separate Atlantic and Pacific groups among the most common. The Yellowfin can be found everywhere from the Aegean Sea filtering into the Mediterranean to the Hawaiian islands to just off the coast of the Maldives. Their range is one of the largest and widest of all tuna.
Many people believe that the best quality of Yellowfin can be found in the Gulf waters just off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. These waters are brimming with Yellowfin, especially in the spring months that constitute the animal’s spawning season. The Louisiana Gulf is easy to reach, easy to navigate, and home to countless specimens of these world-renowned sporting fish.
Yellowfin Are a Relatively Long-Lived Species
The life cycle of the average Yellowfin usually plays out over a period of 7 years. While this is a quite short span for most animals, it is average for a deep water fish. During this time, the Yellowfin will grow from a small fry to a fully fledged adult. Maturity is usually reached within the span of two years, at which time the Yellowfin will begin its spawning activities.
Some recent scientific studies have suggested that the Gulf Yellowfin may spend its entire life cycle in the Gulf. If this is true, it would explain why so many specimens are caught in the Gulf of Mexico at times when they are relatively hard to locate in other parts of the world.
What Are Common Behaviors for Yellowfin?
The Yellowfin exhibits a range of behaviors, some of which are characteristic to all species of tuna while others are specific to itself. Most Yellowfin prefer to stay in the deep water, rarely if ever coming to shore. As a result, they make for excellent sport fish since they are uniquely adapted for both persistence and speed and are not normally found anywhere except for particularly challenging deep fishing areas.
Occasionally, after a storm or during prime feeding conditions, they will approach the beach or other coastal areas. This is usually due to them pursuing and feeding on baitfish that concentrate in these areas. They may also approach near to the shore when the clarity and temperature of the water are suitable to their temperament. This usually results in a large concentration of Yellowfin indulging in a feeding frenzy.
Yellowfin Tend to Be Found in Large Schools in the Gulf
Yellowfin tend to travel in large schools. Normally, this large group includes only their own species, consisting mostly of individuals of their own size. However, they will occasionally expand their school in order to include other species of tuna. They also sometimes travel with smaller sized yellowfin as well as skipjack tuna.
An interesting fact about these schooling activities is that they also sometimes include some species of dolphins and porpoises. They have even been spotted schooling with whales and whale sharks. While the general purpose of schooling in large numbers is known to be for protection, it has not yet been determined what special purpose is served by associating with fish and marine mammals so different from their own species.
The Yellowfin has also been known to school among drifting debris, such as abandoned pallets and logs. Some have been known to follow after fishing boats, presumably in search of the bait or chum that is commonly dropped overboard. This makes them an extremely easy fish to locate, although catching one will depend on the individual level of skill and focus that an angler possesses for the task.
What is an Average Compared to a Huge Yellowfin?
The average Gulf Yellowfin will grow to a size of about 400 pounds. This makes them a significantly large sporting fish, although not quite as large as some of their relatives in the tuna world. For example, Bluefin tunas can grow nearly twice as large, but we can’t catch those. The Gulf Yellowfin is nearly the same size as the Bigeye and Southern Bluefin.
However, there have been examples caught on record of Gulf Yellowfins that have reached a significantly larger size than the average. Some specimens have ranged up to 8 feet in length and 440 pounds in weight. Some studies suggest that some of the very largest Yellowfin can be found in the Gulf waters off the coast of the state.