Bringing Single Yellowtail in Closer

Jan 31, 2013
Boat Name
Stoned Fish
I've been going to the islands every weekend for the past few weeks and consistently see yellowtail, usually at pinnacles and points just reading conditions and looking for the usual indicators. When they're schooled up, I can get some fish to come within range but a lot of the time they are rolling in single.

I usually see them from the surface and try to do a little nonchalant dive to get a little closer/get a better shot but they don't seem to like it too much and keep their distance for about 10-20 seconds before swimming away. Does anybody have tips on how to bring these guys in closer? I'd have way more fish in the freezer if I figured this out.
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May 13, 2004
Long Beach and points due west
Bob Ballew
Boat Name
2520 Parker with twin 200 Yamahas
Whey you see them coming, drop 10' or so and just hang...their experience is that anything swimming toward them, usually wants to eat them...extend your arm out and wiggle white cotton-gloved fingers in your best imitation of a over-sexed squid...if a school; often, one or more will break off to check out a possible free on singles also...

...Years ago, I was lying on the 40' ledge in front of Lions Head (Catalina) looking out into deep water on the drop off. Two giant-size homeguard yellows swam by at my level, but, just out of my comfort range for shooting (12' or less) and not chancing on the loss of a good fish. I raised up, wiggled my white-squid fingers and they broke off their path just enough to take a (for me) long shot of about 15'...The shaft hit dead center and I was on a fish of over 60 pounds. Great so far!...
...Suddenly, the fish headed straight down for the nearest kelp stalks to wrap and tear loose....not a a good thing to allow..This was when things went wrong...
...I grabbed the reel line and clamped down hard to stop the run. Within 5 seconds, I was pulled down to 70'. Already, over my time limit,, I headed up, maintaining some drag on the line as I slowly rose. The line was gradually slipping thru my fingers and the surface was still a long way off....
...It was my lucky? day, as the fish wrapped a kelp stalk three times and ripped off....I made the surface with grey spots "pinging" in front of my eyes. That is when you know only God is looking out for you...The ocean cuts no slack for free divers and their mistakes......

...Moral: Like Clint Eastwood said, in "Dirty Harry,"...."A man has to know his limits"...
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Rabid Fish

Jun 27, 2004
Southern California
Boat Name
If you see them from the surface, don't dive towards them. Dive 10-15 feet down but away from them. Don't look at them. Move slow and they'll just appear in front of you more often than not. You can't chase em, they'll either come in or they won't.
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  • Jul 24, 2017
    San Diego, Calif
    Joseph Gratteau
    Boat Name
    Valco Westcoaster 150'
    +1 on white cotton gloves, and imitating a squid with hand motions. I have a small squid hoochie on my gun, 20# line holding it on in case something grabs it. I had a #35 yellow swim right into the tip of my gun, totally focused on it! Smacked his head, turned, and got shot broadside. Diving away from the fish seems to make them follow and move in.
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