This beast of the Pacific is one of the most elusive fish you’re likely to come across. One of the most difficult parts of fishing for the Dogtooth Tuna is finding its home. However, once you’ve located a good spot to fish for it, you’re still in for a long ride. Luring it in, hooking it, and reeling it in are just as difficult a task. Many anglers have this species on their bucket list for the difficulty of the task alone. Bringing one in is no small feat.
We have compiled a list of tips, tricks, and recommendations to try to make your fishing experience much simpler. Catching the Dogtooth Tuna is already a near impossible task, come prepared with the right tools and setup to try to lessen the difficulty. We touch on where to find them, how to locate them, what techniques work best for fishing them, what baits to use, and how to set up your line. If you follow our tips and recommendations, you’ll bring in a Dogtooth Tuna in no time!
Where to Find a Dogtooth Tuna
This massive species of fish tends to live in more remote areas where boating isn’t all too common. They prefer to be away from human activity and can be found swimming deep along trenches or the edges of reefs. Dogtooth Tuna do love the high current areas that flow along these ocean floor structures. When searching the ocean for a Dogtooth Tuna, it might pay off to locate a heavy underwater current close to the edge of a reef – the optimal feeding ground of the Dogtooth Tuna.
Thanks to the large swim bladder present on this species of fish, choosing the right environment is not an issue you will face. The Dogtooth Tuna is able to adapt to differing temperatures in the water which expands their habitat by a great length. This can be both a blessing and a curse for the anglers as you now have much more room to search. At the same time, there isn’t a specified spot where they can be located along the Pacific coast.
Luckily, they aren’t spread throughout the Pacific Ocean and are typically only found in the western Pacific and Indian Oceans. Polynesia, Japan, Northern Australia, and Vanuatu each host some of the best fishing spots for the Dogtooth Tuna. If you’re hoping to grab this giant of the sea, then placing yourself in one of the coastal regions mentioned above will be your best bet. Find a rural and secluded reef with a strong current, bring the right bait, and get started fishing!
How to Catch the Dogtooth Tuna
Start off your hunt by placing yourself in the best location to bring the catch in. You need to locate the fish before you can confidently begin the process of luring, baiting, and reeling. We recommend using a GPS that tracks underwater levels and disturbances as this will help you locate the edges of the reef where the Dogtooth Tuna is most likely to be found. These elusive creatures can swim from depths as shallow as a couple of meters to as deep as over 300 meters.
Pinpointing them can be difficult and even if you’ve followed directions to the perfect spot where they’re always present, there’s no guarantee that the Dogtooth Tuna will be present. They are elusive fish and will stay away from areas with too much surface activity so be prepared to spend much of your time searching for one. Once you’ve found the best location, it’s time to start luring the Dogtooth Tuna into your boat.
Most anglers who have successfully caught a Dogtooth Tuna have done so using casting and jigging techniques. These are both highly effective methods that will find you success eventually when bringing in a Dogtooth Tuna. We highly recommend trolling along the edge of the reef. It’s impossible to know for sure if the fish is there so widen your range. Start trolling with the best bait and lure setup until you feel a nibble.
Best Bait for Dogtooth Tuna
We always recommend live bait fishing whenever possible, and with the Dogtooth Tuna, the advice remains the same. By knowing what their favorite food is, you’ll be able to bring the right snack for them which will lure them in easier and won’t introduce an invasive species to the environment. Dogtooth Tuna love bait fish local to the waters and squid. Because of their enormous mouth and teeth, you won’t have to stick to the smaller bait fish species most other fish prefer.
If live bait simply isn’t on the menu for you, then you’ll need to use different types of lures to bring in the Dogtooth Tuna. Luckily, these will work just fine with this fish, sometimes better than live bait. Stick baits tend to be the popular choice among anglers as it mimics that of the typical live bait without posing the threat of losing too much on one fish. The Dogtooth Tuna is a strong species that will rip live bait away from you so using a stick bait could be preferable to most.
Once you have the right bait in use – live, stick, or poppers – it’s time to make it dance. You want the Dogtooth Tuna to notice your lure so you need to bring it to life. Many anglers will use reflectors to shine the light down towards the Tuna and draw it into the lure that way. However, by the time the Dogtooth Tuna grabs your bait, you should already be sweating from effort. Casting and jigging require much movement and effort from the angler so bring that bait to life if it’s not already.
Best Line Setup to Use for Dogtooth Tuna
Some of these fish can get to be rather massive. We have encountered a few that were over 100kg so there’s no such thing as overkill with this setup. You want strength on your line and a dependable setup that won’t snap, losing both the fish and your lures. To accomplish this, we highly recommend a 100lb braided line. This might sound insane, but this is a strong fish that is ready to pack a punch the second it’s hooked. You and your line need to be able to withstand the pressure.
Because the Dogtooth Tuna is so difficult to pin down, you could find yourself in vastly different depths of water – extreme shallows down to dark depths. To combat this, you’ll need to come prepared with different length lines. You don’t want to go trolling in 300m with a line built for pond fishing, but you also don’t want to be in 1m water with a line that could reach the bottom of a trench. Finding the right balance is done through having multiple lines ready to go.
If you’re planning on jigging as your primary method of bringing in the fish, having a specialized jigging rod would be optimal. Japan makes a special jigging rod that is light and movable, but can handle fish as big as the Dogtooth Tuna. These rods are quite expensive but are as close to a specialized tool as you’ll find in the hunt for the Dogtooth Tuna. Come prepared with the right setup and bait options and your search for this fish should be much easier.
Get Ready for a Fight!
As we’ve mentioned already, the Dogtooth Tuna is a massive fish that packs quite the punch, even from the start. You’ll need to have a tight grip the whole time and be prepared for some wild twists and turns during the battle. As soon as they snag your bait and the hook is planted, their first instinct is almost always to simply dive as deep as they can, so they can shake off your line. You’ll need to let them go for a bit, but keep them tight so you don’t lose your line.
If you’re using a popper, you could be in for a fantastic sight as the Dogtooth Tuna likes to break the surface for a magnificent display when catching a popper bait. Reeling them in is all about patience and being able to withstand the struggle of the fight. They’ll run too and fro in order to shake you, but if you have a strong line with a sturdy hook, tiring them out will be your best bet. Let them fight a while before you slowly start to reel them in.
You’ll be quite sweaty after your battle with the Dogtooth Tuna, but holding it up for the picture is one of the most rewarding feelings you’ll experience. This fish is a battle from start to finish from its elusive nature to its powerful dives. Once you’ve caught it, you’ll be able to check a big one off of your bucket list and the fight, sweat, and tears will all have been well worth it. Follow our tips and tricks to make fishing for this elusive Dogtooth Tuna possible for you!
Be sure to also read: How to Catch an Atlantic Croaker