BlueWater Hunting and Freediving
by Terry Maas

Dogtooth Tuna Chapter excerpt

Of all the gamefish profiled in this book, dogtooth tuna, with their average of 20 conical teeth per jaw, most resemble sharks. Frequently found swimming with gray reef sharks, they will turn on a wounded comrade and attack it with the same gusto as the sharks. Native to the tropical Indo-West Pacific, these fish range in an area centered around Australia_from East Africa in the west, north to the Philippines and west to the islands of Oceania. Dogtooth tuna are a resident-pelagic fish, favoring water 20 to 28 degrees Centigrade.

Swimming as individuals or in small groups, they occasionally form large schools. They frequent depths between 50 and 150 feet around coral reefs, preferring the reef's deep sides, leeward sides and channels, and the northern ends of coral atolls. This species is susceptible to overfishing, so expect to find larger fish in more remote locations. Because of their resident nature, some individuals are protected by local divers as pets at tourist locations such as the pass at Rangiroa in Tahiti.

Dogtooth tuna average 15 to 20 kilograms (33 to 44 pounds); the spearfishing record is 55.5 kilograms(121.1 pounds), and the all-tackle record is 131 kilograms (288 pounds). Their flesh is whiter than other tuna and they taste like spanish mackerel. Sharks also like to eat dogtooth tuna. Hooked and speared fish are frequently consumed in feeding frenzies, especially if the escaping tuna are allowed near the bottom, where they may become tethered in a line tangle. Spearing these fish is often a two-way contest_diver versus tuna, diver versus sharks.

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