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    Dogtooth Tuna Spearfishing Guide

    November 08, 2023 5 min read

    Dogtooth Tuna Spearfishing Guide

    Spearfishing Dogtooth Tuna

    The mighty Dogtooth Tuna is a great eating pelagic fish that packs a challenging fight for even the most experienced spearos. If you’re after one of these beauties, Australia is one of the best places to spearfish dogtooth tuna with both the Coral Sea and North-West Australia as prime spots to test your skills (and gear!)

    With some specimens measuring up to 200cm and weighing over 130kgs, Dogtooth Tuna is not only a monster fish but also an incredibly challenging one to land. Teamwork, a game plan, technique and the right gear is critical to a successful hunt. Read along to make sure you’re in the know!

    Step 1. Gear for Spearfishing Dogtooth Tuna

    Check out the gear guide collection curated by our team here.

    1. Speargun: A reliable and robust speargun is the cornerstone of your spearfishing gear. For targeting dogtooth tuna, consider a heavy-duty speargun with a recommended length range of 110 to 160 cm, allowing both manoeuvrability and maximum power. Opt for models designed for open water hunting and capable of handling multiple bands or a roller mechanism for added power. Spearfishing for dogtooth tuna offers a thrilling and challenging experience due to their size and strength, making the right speargun crucial.

    2. Shafts: Specialised shafts with heavy-duty tips and materials are essential for penetrating the tough bodies of dogtooth tuna. Look for stainless steel shafts with a double flopper for securing the fish effectively after the shot. The right shafts are crucial when targeting strong and muscular species like dogtooth tuna.

    3. Float: Select a high-visibility float equipped with a durable flag or marker for safety. It should have enough buoyancy to support the weight of your gear and harvested fish. Additionally, consider a float with compartments to store smaller items like spare gear or tools. Hunting dogtooth tuna often requires extended trips and a team of spearos, so having a reliable float is essential.

    4. Float Line: A robust float line, typically made of high-quality monofilament, is essential for connecting your speargun to the float. Ensure it has a high test strength (e.g., 300-400 lbs) to withstand the force of battling a large and powerful fish like the dogtooth tuna. Also, opt for a float line with stainless steel snaps or swivels to prevent corrosion. Reliable float lines are crucial during extended hunting trips for dogtooth tuna, often inaccessible by the average boat.

    5. Bungee: For improved shot accuracy and power, choose a bungee cord with strong elasticity and suitable length. A bungee with 5-7 meters of stretch and durable, quick-release attachments is recommended. Make sure it's designed to fit your specific speargun model and accommodates your shooting style. The challenge of hunting powerful fish like dogtooth tuna demands precision and power, making a reliable bungee cord essential. 

    Step 2. Finding Dogtooth Tuna

    Dogtooth Tuna are found on offshore reefs, often inaccessible by the average boat - this makes charter trips a great option if you’re chasing Doggies. You’ll generally be hunting these fish on charters that go for 5-7 days with a team of Spearos, so check out some of the upcoming Adreno Spearfishing trips if you’d like to have a crack at hunting dogtooth tuna.

    Like most pelagic fish, Dogtooth Tuna love a good pinnacle or ledge where the current is hitting, attracting a decent amount of their favourite bait fish. When trying to find these fish, it's always good to engage the expertise of divers that spear the area regularly. Just because you know doggies are in the area, is very different to knowing the exact spots to find them lurking.

    Time in the water is key, but timing is also important for increasing the chances of seeing dogtooth tuna. Early mornings/late afternoons, typically in the summer months, will offer your best shots at finding these pelagic fish.


    Step 3. Hunting & Spearing Dogtooth Tuna

    Assemble a team for Spearfishing Dogtooth Tuna

    A team of at least three in the water is a must, with each member not only keeping an eye out for each other's safety but also contributing to landing the fish.

    Diver 1: A diver on burley/chum (to bring the fish in)
    The diver on the burley should carry a small speargun to shoot and burley up, or use old fish frames. They’ll also be able to get in the second shot to help either stone or bring in the fish once initially speared.

    Diver 2: A diver on the flasher (to keep the fish around)
    To help attract and keep the fish around you’ll want someone working the flasher. They can also look after the float line just prior to and after the fish has been shot. This will prevent the “Doggie Spew” (this is where the fish vomits up their guts and bolts) and avoid the fish getting away after that shot if it isn't stoned straight away.

    Diver 3: A diver on the bluewater speargun (to take the shot)
    There should only be one bluewater speargun, normally rigged with a breakaway and/or slip tip, in the water at a time, this way it can be passed between spearos when it's their turn to catch their own.

    Take it in turns rotating between flasher, chumming, and diving.

    How to Spear Dogtooth Tuna

    Due to the burley, flashers and noise in the water hunting Dogtooth will also likely attract sharks for a free feed. Being coordinated, fast and having your team around there is key to keeping your catch for yourself and not the taxman! Check out the tips to avoid being sharked here.

    As soon as the fish are near and the Spearo with the bluewater speargun dives down ready for the shot, the diver on the flasher should move in to help control the drag on the float line. As soon as the trigger is pulled, the float line should be reeled in and kept tight, bringing the fish to the surface. If slack is given and the Dogtooth Tuna gets a chance to build up speed you run the risk of losing your catch to the reef or sharks. As you bring it to the surface, it's always good to get another spear into it from the burley diver to either stone or help secure your catch.

    Shooting Technique for Dogtooth Tuna

    Getting the perfect shot in is also key to having maximum control of the fish and giving you the best chance at landing the Doggie by impeding its ability to run. Spearing at an angle from above the fish is always a great shot for achieving this. Aim for the top left or right shoulder and shoot the spear down and forwards at a 45-degree angle to come out at the bottom left or right. This makes it easier to turn the fish as opposed to shooting directly up and down where it can give the tuna more freedom to take you for a ride. If you get this shot right you’ll be able to run the dogtooth tuna in circles below you while you bring it to the surface with ease.

    Step 4: Care / Recipes 

    Check out the following recipes to smoke your Doggie and cook yourself a mighty feast.

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