Tuna (Dogtooth) Fishing (Gymnosarda unicolor)

All Tackle Record
104.5kg (230lbs, 6oz)

Tuna (Dogtooth) Fishing (Gymnosarda unicolor)

The Dogtooth Tuna actually belongs to the Scombridae family and so can be thought of as an overgrown Skipjack with canine teeth. This predatory fish will not think twice about biting off your expensive tackle and will often cause even more mayhem once boated.

This big game pelagic can be found scouring the reefs, channels, passes and rocky areas of outer reef slopes and deep drop offs, hunting and killing every fish smaller than they are. Smaller individuals live over nearshore shallow water reefs and have also been reported in inshore waters during warm weather. They are seldom seen in schools, most often alone or in small groups.

How big

Dogtooth can grow up to 2.5m (8ft) and 130kg (290lbs), but the average adult catch will be between 15 and 20kg (30 and 45lbs).

When & Where

The species is widely distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical Western and Central Indo-Pacific, from Africa to the west to the Marquesas Islands (but not Hawaii) to the east, Australia to the south and Japan to the north. This includes Madagascar, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Seychelles, the Maldives, Philipines, Indonesia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and around the smaller islands between Asia and Australia.

Hotspots include Okinawa and southern Japan islands, the Maldives, Andaman Islands, Bali, Vanuatu, Mauritius and the Great Barrier Reef.

Beware of the vicious jaws. Caught with Wild River Fishing off Port Moresby, PNG

How to catch

Dogtooth is caught in a similar way as other Tunas - by trolling various types of spoons, plugs, feathers or plastic lures, or by jigging/popping. They will not refuse live or strip natural bait however, and the recommended options are smaller mackerel, mullet or other small pelagic fish or squid.

When casting artificials, large stick-bait lures or pencil poppers are used, and these should be retreived continuously - otherwise, the fish will lose interest.

Once hooked, they will normally make a high-speed run towards the bottom. No amount of drag will be enough to stop the reel from screaming and, if the fish makes it to the reef structure, your line from being cut.

It is common that the fish is still "green" when it reaches the boat and may cause damage to equipment or even hurt passengers. Gaffs shouldn't be used, as they can cause the Dogtooth stress and additionally complicate matters, so it's best to tire them out as much as possible before taking them out of the water. Utmost caution is advised when handling one of these dangerous fish.

Good to eat?

The meat is appreciated, but not regarded as highly as genuine Tuna meat. This fish is mostly released.



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