Dogtooth Tuna

Dogtooth tuna or White tuna, is a species of pelagic marin fish which belongs to the family Scombridae found throughout the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific.The distinctive points to recognize the Dogtooth tuna are its large size, its streamline shape, always swimming this open jaws and its body coloration (blue green on the back, silver on the side and whitish on the belly).

Dogtooth tuna are members of the mackerel family. Distinguishing features include a streamlined body with a large head and a mouth that contains twenty sharp dog-like teeth per jaw. They have two dorsal fins; the first is spiny and large, and the second, right behind it is soft-rayed. The ventral fin is similar in size and shaped like the second dorsal. Nine spiny finlets stretch down the upper and lower tail section toward its crescent shaped tailfin. This species exhibits counter shading and has no scales. The dorsal surface is blue green, the sides are silver, and the belly is white. They swim constantly with their mouth open to force water through the gills because of a high oxygen requirement and great muscular activity. An unusual vessel system in the liver and tail provides counter-current temperature exchange, raising the body temperature 6°C to 12°C higher than the water temperature. They can reach speeds of up to 80 kph (50 mph). Dogtooth tuna's average weight is 15 to 20 kg (33 to 44 lbs).


Dogtooth tuna frequent reef environments, with smaller fish being more commonly found near shallow reef areas and larger ones haunting deep reef drop off areas, seamounts and steep underwater walls. The dogtooth tuna is one of the apex non-pelagic predators in its environment, sharing that position with Giant Trevally, Napoleon Wrasse, and large groupers, as well as reef, bull and tiger sharks. An aggressive predator, the dogtooth tuna is an opportunistic feeder that is capable of taking a wide variety of prey items. In most areas the mainstay of its diet probably consists of pelagic schooling fish found near reef habitat, including fusiliers, carangids such as rainbow runners and mackerel scad, and scombrids. Dogtooth tuna feed upon shoaling fishes like herring (Clupea), sprats (Sprattus), mackerel (Scomber), whiting (Merlucciidae), cuttlefish (Sepia) and sometimes squid (Loligo).


The dogtooth tuna is appreciated in most of its range as a fine food fish and also as a game fish sought by both rod and reel anglers and spearfishermen. Dogtooth tuna used to be mostly taken as an incidental catch by anglers trolling for other gamefish - with natural baits for black marlin, for instance, or with lures for wahoo and Spanish (narrowbarred) mackerel. In the last 10 to 15 years there has been more dedicated effort directed at this species because of its rarity and sporting qualities. Dogtooth tuna are now a highly coveted prize by many European and Asian sports anglers. Large specimens are seldom found where there is significant fishing pressure and can be one of the most difficult gamefish to capture. Their habit of making high-speed downward runs when hooked, even on heavy tackle, often sees the line being cut as it contacts deep bottom structure. Sharks frequently mutilate both hooked and speared fish during the later stages of the fight, adding to the difficulty in landing them. The majority of dogtooth tuna captures have tended to be made by trolling with dead and live baits or with lures, particularly deep-swimming plugs. These techniques are still often used, with one niche specialty being the use of live bait such as rainbow runners to tease dogtooth tuna within range of light tackle and fly-casting anglers. High speed jigging with a variety of metal lures has increased tremendously in popularity in the last several years as advancements in tackle technology have resulted in lightweight rods and reels that are capable of handling heavy spectra-type braided lines. Some of the more popular destinations for anglers seeking this species include Okinawa and other islands of southern Japan, Rodrigues and other Indian Ocean islands such as the Maldives, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Bali and elsewhere in Nusa Tenggara in Indonesia, the Great Barrier Reef and its outlying atolls, and many Western Pacific islands such as Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.

Species Information

Scientific Name:Gymnosarda unicolor
Environment:Nearshore, Offshore
Ideal Temp:70-80°F (21-26°C)
Technique:Casting, Chunking, Fly, Jigging, Trolling
Lure Type:Flies, Jigs, Spoons, Topwater, Trolling
World Record:104.5 kg (230 lb 6 oz) Rodrigues Island, Mauritius 25-Oct-2007
Other Names:dogtooth, lizard mouth tuna, white tuna

Latest Dogtooth Tuna Fishing Reports and Spots

Claremont Isles Flyfishing Adventures - 12/8/2013 10:40:30 AM

  The Claremont Isles is a special place for Fly Anglers. There’s simply nowhere else in the world where you could potentially catch a barramun (View)

Dogtooth Lair - 4/15/2013 9:45:30 PM


August 9 2021 - 8/9/2021 3:46:08 PM

The Discoverer and angler Sean Jackson scored big on the 9th. A few Sailfish releases were backed-up with a BIG White Tuna. These guys rarely ge (View)

From big mulloway to wahoo see what's biting across WA in this week's ACTION-PACKED Recfishwest State-wide Fishing Report 30 July 2021 🎣 - 7/30/2021 1:15:00 AM

96 Recfishwest Newsletter View this email in your browser Recfishwest Fishing Report 30/07/21 Picture: Marco Fraschetti Our Contributers Zach R (View)

February 26 2021 - 2/26/2021 3:37:58 PM

The Wanderer is a great place to bring the kids and on the 26th Captain William was excited to welcome Chris Graves’ family. They stayed inshor (View)

Dogtooth Tuna, Yellowfin Tuna, Soldier Fish, and Arturi - 7/23/2019 12:32:06 AM

Late fishing report for 5-5-2019 Caught Dogtooth Tuna and Yellowfin Tuna while jigging. At night around the docks I caught Soldier fish and (View)

February 20 2017 - 2/20/2017 2:51:25 PM

Eric Weissman and his friend Zev enjoyed great action with Captain David on a pair of trips in mid-February. After their first trip delivered ca (View)

Bite Switches towards Iman Bank for Dogtooth Snapper Yellowfin Tuna - 8/1/2015 8:11:19 PM

Anglers – August 1 2015 As we start a new month there are no new storm systems on the horizon that are forecast to affect Southern Baja. At this (View)

Bligh Reef Doggie Bustoff with Ifish TV - 7/2/2015 5:36:08 AM

// Paul Worsteling getting done over by a big dogtooth at Bligh Reef. They are just so hard to stop these bi (View)

Bugatti Reef North 21 July 2014 - 7/21/2014 2:50:20 AM

Andrew. A beautiful day out on the reef today with a fresh crew eager to get into some fish. Heading north of Bugatti we fished some nice looki (View)