Yellowfin Croaker (Umbrina roncador)

Yellowfin Croaker (Umbrina roncador)

The yellowfin croaker is a member of the family Sciaenidae (drum and croaker), known for the drumlike noises it makes when it raps a muscle against its swim bladder. The resulting distinctive drumming sound is amplified by the swim bladder and can be heard at some distance.

The sciaenids are one of the most important food fish in the world because nearly all species are good to eat and are harvested commercially. Found along the Pacific coast, the yellowfin croaker is a popular catch for light-tackle surf anglers.


The body of the yellowfin croaker is elliptical-elongate; the back is somewhat arched and the head blunt. Its coloring is iridescent blue to gray, with brassy reflections on the back, diffusing to silvery white below. Dark wavy lines streak the sides. The fins are yellowish, except for the dark dorsal fins. It has a small barbel on the chin tip and two strong anal spines; the barbel and the heavy anal spines distinguish the yellowfin from other California croaker.


The average weight for a yellowfin croaker is less than 1 pound. The all-tackle record is 2 pounds, 11 ounces.

Life history/Behavior

Yellowfin croaker are sexually mature at 9 inches in length. Their spawning season is in the summer, when this species is most common along sandy beaches. They move into deeper waters in the winter, traveling in schools or small groups.

Food and feeding habits

Although the yellowfin croaker primarily consumes small fish and fish fry, it also feeds on small crustaceans, worms, and mollusks.

Other Names

Catalina croaker, yellow-tailed croaker, golden croaker, yellowfin drum.

Yellowfin Croaker (Umbrina roncador)
Yellowfin Croaker (Umbrina roncador)


The yellowfin croaker is found from the Gulf of California, Mexico, to Point Conception, California.


These fish inhabit shallow parts of bays, channels, harbors, and other nearshore waters over sandy bottoms.