Amphistichus Rhodoterus




1 - 4 pounds

12" - 16"

Redtail Surfperch 

Also Known As: Surfperch

Redtail Surfperch (Amphistichus rhodoterus) Fish Description

Redtail Surfperch is white to silver oval-bodied fish with olive green mottling and bars on its sides. They have a pink to deep purple tail. They are deep-bodied fish, compressed from side to side. Their upper head is nearly straight from its snout to their dorsal fin, minus the slight impression above its eye. The vertical stripes on its sides become less distinct as the fish grows.

To help distinguish the Redtail Surfperch from its relative the Barred surfperch and Calico surfperch is by the Redtail Surfperch’s longest dorsal spines being longer than its dorsal fin rays. 


Diet & Size

The Redtail Surfperch diets predominantly consist of small crabs, mussels, shrimp, and marine worms. Redtail surfperch can weigh up to at least 4.5 lbs., and at a maximum, grow as long as 16 in. in length. They can live up to 14 years of age. 


Interesting Facts about Redtail Surfperch

  • Redtail surfperch meet before the spawning season occurs, during spring to early summer, in sheltered inshore waters, like estuaries.
  • Breeding seasons happen during fall, and the young spawn in the following spring or summer, around June to August.
  • Female Redtail Surfperch bears live young, and closely resemble smaller versions of their adult counterparts.
  • Females can give birth to up to 51 young, but on average, to around 27 youngs.
  • The most frequently caught surfperch is the Redtail Surfperch.


Fishing Techniques

Redtail Surfperch, like other surfperch fish, can be found mostly in the surf. The best waters for catching Redtail Surfperches would be just outside the first set of breakers for you to find them. And along the most ideal times to fish for them would be when they’re all schooled up for spawning around spring and early summer. Most commonly, on an incoming tide, an hour or two before high tide. As they tend to come together within 30 ft of the shoreline, swimming in and out of the surging waters looking for food, this would present an accessible and convenient target for anglers.

But the Redtail Surfperch would usually be found in the 2nd and 4th row of breakers, nearer deeper holes, areas with high sand erosions. Including places with steep and slope beaches, with rocky areas where the surf comes crashing down and in sandy areas near the jetties, or where the shore cuts inward.

When choosing to game fish for them, choose between light to medium tackles, depending on the current conditions. For light tackles, it is preferred to use crab backs. On the heavier tackles, sand crabs, tube worms, clams would be ideal when surf fishing. 

Many anglers, when game fishing, have found success by fly fishing for the Redtail Surfperch using shrimp pattern flies.


Habitat and Distribution

Redtail Surfperch is frequently found along the sandy ocean beaches and jetties all year round. They can even be found up-bay in estuaries during springtime. These fish can move for long distances along coastlines, and appear in schools like other Surfperch.

They can mostly be observed in the range from Avila Beach, California to Hope Island, BC. The Redtail Surfperch is the only, (New World), marine Surfperch that currently does not inhabit south Baja California waters.