The Cape yellowtail is a common, but seasonal, gamefish of great esteem. It is mainly an inhabitant of Atlantic waters, but each winter it follows the pilchard migrations, or ‘sardine run’, up the East Coast to KwaZulu-Natal. This fast and powerful predator has such strong gregarious instincts that huge shoals may follow hooked and struggling fish to the surface from considerable depths.
The Cape yellowtail is commonly caught from ski-boats, and purse seine trawlers often net great numbers. Shore anglers, however, may land good catches during the annual ‘sardine run’, when yellowtail freely take lures, spoons or sardine bait. This excellent table fish is also popular with spearfishermen.
The firm, rich flesh is truly delicious when grilled, braaied or baked either whole or in steaks. The larger the fish, the coarser the flesh and stronger the flavour. Counteract the richness by serving with plenty of lemon or baking with wine. Yellowtail is just as tasty served cold with mayonnaise or tartare sauce and a glass of chilled white wine. Like other oily fish, yellowtail is best fresh - the fish should be plump, the eyes bright and the skin glossy. Stale yellowtail becomes bitter and unpalatable. Take care not to overcook as it will become dry.
Category: South African Cuisine
Sub Category: Seafood