Game Fishing > Snapper family, Lutianidae > Yellow-tail


Yellow-tailThe yellow-tail is a very handsome fish, and one of the favorite pan-fishes at Key West. It was named chrysurus, or "gold-tail," by Bloch, in 1790, from its description by Marcgrave in his "Fishes of Brazil." Its habitat is from southern Florida to South America. It is abundant in the vicinity of Key West in the channels between the reefs and keys.

The yellow-tail is well proportioned, compressed, and elliptical, being regularly curved from head to tail. Its head is as long as the depth of the body, with a pointed snout; the mouth is rather small, with the lower jaw projecting.

The color above is olivaceous, or bluish, below violet; a broad, deep yellow stripe runs from the snout, through the eye, and along the middle of the body to the caudal fin; above this stripe there are a number of deep yellow blotches, as if made by the finger tips; below the broad yellow stripe are quite a number of narrow, parallel yellow stripes, with violet interspaces ; the iris of the eye is scarlet; the very long caudal fin is entirely deep yellow, and the other fins are bordered with yellow.

The yellow-tail associates with the grunts and porgies about the coralline rocks in the channels, feeding on small fishes and crustaceans. Its average size is ten or twelve inches in length and nearly a pound in weight, though it sometimes is taken up to two feet, and three or four pounds.

It is quite a good game-fish and very voracious, eagerly taking sea-crawfish, crab, conch, or small fish bait. Some of the large conchs, as Pyrula and Strombus, will furnish bait for an entire outing, the animal being as large as a child's forearm. Black-bass tackle, with hooks on gut snells, will answer for the yellow-tail.