California Angler Smashes Decades-Old Yellowtail World Record

by Craig Garrett
Yellow tail game fish fishing - stock photo

An angler from California who caught a 36-pound yellowtail on San Clemente Island in July was given the women’s line-class world record. After a 25-minute tussle on a 12-pound test line, Lisa Kitagawa’s grab smashed a previous record. That fishing record had endured for almost 34 years, USA Today reports.

Kitagawa is an avid fisherwoman and member of the Balboa Angling Club. On Friday, the club took to social media to share the International Game Fish Assn.’s announcement about the yellowtail.

The image shows Kitagawa proudly hoisting up her catch. “On July 19, 2022, Lisa Kitagawa landed this impressive 16.58-kilogram (36-pound, 10-ounce) California yellowtail on a live sardine,” the caption begins. “[This set] the IGFA Women’s 6-kg (12-lb) Line Class World Record for the species.”

The club goes on to describe the details of Kitagawa’s impressive accomplishment. “Kitagawa was fishing with captain Daron Muratyan aboard the Peruz and needed 25 minutes to land the record fish. Lisa’s yellowtail topped the previous record, which had stood for nearly 34 years, by over seven pounds! Congratulations, Lisa!”

California yellowtail are highly desired by anglers for not only their fighting skills but also because they make good eating. These fish typically hang around Mexico’s Sea of Cortez and along the Pacific coast near Baja California and Southern California. The California state record for the species (on any line strength) is 63 pounds, 1 ounce. According to the IGFA, Kitagawa now holds four world records, including an all-tackle record for parrot sandbass (4 pounds).

Yellowtail are fierce opponents for anglers

Yellowtail can be found along the Pacific coastline, from Southern California to Chile. They even turn up in New Zealand north of Japan. Larger, more local varieties known as “mossbacks” or “home-guards” can be caught all year round. They weigh up to 30-40 pounds. Meanwhile, school-size fish that are more prevalent during the warmer summer months reach about 12-20 pounds.

Except for the far offshore species such as Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna, and Bluefin Tuna, yellowtail is by far the most popular game fish in Southern California. The Yellowtail’s combination of strength and aggressive fighting combined with its delicious table food make it one of the most coveted fish in these regions.

Southern California game fish such as yellowtail are fast and aggressive fighters. They have a lot of heart and are elusive smart fighters. They swim with fury, gorging themselves on their prey after herding schools of squid, mackerel, or anchovies. When they strike, the angler knows it right away. They go for deep-diving runs. The fish will not stop until worn out. To land these sneaky animals, the fisherman’s gear and technique must be in top form. However, a regular rent rod reel setup in excellent condition will suffice.