small group of sooty shearwaters bobbed about on a glassy ocean. As we idled closer, the birds eyed us suspiciously, then lit out. No sooner had the shearwaters taken off than a school of yellowfin tuna erupted in their place. Ron Ballanti and I cast live sardines to the foaming school and hooked up immediately, and within 15 minutes, a pair of gleaming 30-pound yellowfins decorated the deck. For many Southern California anglers, yellowfin tuna represent the most prized of offshore targets. Some fish range upward to 80 pounds, but most yellowfins here run 15 to 40 pounds. Yellowfins typically arrive within striking range of SoCal ports in late July and early August. Migrating from southern latitudes, the first fish are often caught off northern Baja California by anglers venturing 50 to 60 miles below the border. As summer wears on and ocean temperatures climb, yellowfin tuna continue northward into U.S. waters, as far as the Channel Islands, 150 miles north of the border. Yet these fish aren’t always easy to find, and sometimes they don’t want to bite, especially when they key on small anchovies or schools of fry. In addition, yellowfins remain consistently inconsistent in their feeding habits. What produces one day might not work the next, making these swift offshore predators moving targets in more ways than one. The key to success lies in adaptation: changing from one technique to another until you find the one that works. Here are some tricks that have worked in recent years.