One of the strongest fish in the sea, once hooked you’ll see why people refer to tuna as a ‘ball of muscle’. Not known for its jumping ability, the hard and constant runs will test anybody’s strength and will power. The fight may very well wear you out, but once landed this makes for a great meal both on the boat and when you get back to your hotel. The most commonly hooked tuna are ‘football’ sized, several yellowfin upwards of 200-300 lbs have been landed here.
DESCRIPTION: The body of the yellowfin tuna is tapered at both ends and appears conical: like an American football. The color on their backs ranges from a dark blue or brown to yellow. Because yellowfin tuna and big-eye tuna appear so similar, the main way to tell them apart is the pectoral fins. In yellowfin tuna the pectoral fins do not extend past the anal fin, while in the big-eye tuna they easily do.
FEEDING HABITS: Tuna feed on squid, crustaceans and various juvenile fishes. They have incredible power and bursts of speed produced by their crescent shaped tails. They generally travel in large schools, often with dolphins and most often are hooked when jigging or trolling.
SIZE: Yellowfin tuna grow very quickly and generally weigh about 8 pounds by the time they are 18 months old. Big tuna are typically four years old or older with the biggest fish being over 10 years old. The vast majority of the tuna caught in Costa Rica are ‘footballs’ ranging from 8-20 pounds, but catching yellowfin in the range of 100 – 200 lbs happens every year.
WHERE FOUND IN COSTA RICA: Yellowfin tuna can be found anywhere in the Pacific Ocean all the way from Peru to California. They typically like waters between 74 and 82 degrees. They are found all along the Pacific Coast and even out in the Caribbean Sea.
BEST MONTHS: Yellowfin tuna can be caught every month of the year here in Costa Rica but since they travel in large schools, some months are definitely better than others. They are one of the game fish that have better numbers in the green season, with the best months typically being from May to October. Peak months are generally June – August.