Known as Hamachi in Japanese cuisine, California Yellowtail is renowned for its delicious and distinctive flavor. This recipe puts a twist on a traditional Japanese hand roll using fried Yellowtail instead of a typical raw presentation. Buttermilk is used to pull oils out of the fillets resulting in fish that tastes milder- very much like chicken. The blend of fresh vegetables, rice, umami flavors, and the richness of fried Yellowtail make these handrolls a knockout appetizer or party dish for any dinner.

The Catch: California Yellowtail

California Yellowtail is some of the most prized gamefish targeted across the west coast and throughout Baja. Arguably the hardest fighting fish, pound-for-pound, within the SoCal fishery; its value as a sportfishing target is matched by the versatility of its culinary use in the kitchen. Yellowtail is delicious served raw, it can be fried, sauteed, bbq’d, baked, and smoked. It is truly a fish with a taste profile that lends itself to seemingly limitless preparations for dishes representing different cultures. Raw it is exceptionally mild and buttery – perfect for sashimi and cooked it tends to have a sweet and slightly oily flavor profile.

  • Location: San Diego
  • Method: Casting Surface Irons
  • Process: Locating and running on bird schools with splashing fish below.
  • Serving Size: 4-6
  • Cook Time: ~20 mins

The Rig

  • Rod: Calstar 100J
  • Reel: Shimano Torium 20
  • Line: 65lb Seaguar Threadlock/ 50lb Izorline
  • Lure: JRI Stinger Surface Iron


  • Sushi Nori
  • Instant Sticky White Rice
  • Imitation Krab/Surimi (Optional)
  • Avocado
  • Cucumber
  • Carrot
  • Green Onion
  • Eel Sauce
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Yellowtail fillets
  • Buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper (coarse ground)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 Large Eggs beaten
  • Panko Bread Crumbs
  • Vegetable Oil


  1. Fill glass oven pan or large bowl with buttermilk and place yellowtail fillets inside.
  2. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hrs.
  3. Slice Avocado, Carrot, and Cucumber into long slices/stalks.
  4. Chop Green Onion
  5. After allotted time, pull yellowtail from buttermilk and pad down with paper towels.
  6. Season both sides of Yellowtail with salt and pepper.
  7. Whisk eggs and in three separate bowls put eggs, flour, and panko breadcrumbs.
  8. Coat Yellowtail in flour, then dip in egg, and then cover in panko.
  9. Heat oil on HIGH. Drop breaded Yellowtail into oil once very hot and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side.
  10. Microwave sticky rice according to brand directions.
  11. Take Nori Wrapper and place rice, Yellowtail, cucumber, carrot, (Surimi if used), sesame seed and green onion inside.
  12. Drizzle with Eel Sauce and wrap up!
Nate has been fishing SoCal waters since a very young age, catching his first yellowtail at 6 with his father. He stayed in San Diego for his college education, attending UCSD and then SDSU for his Masters in Business. He has assisted multiple startups achieve success over the years and has a backgr...