SAMPLE: BLUE WATER HUNTING AND FREEDIVING Introduction sample - Page 11
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 grey 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 109 kilograms ( 240 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 .
Hunting these fish , as with most other bluewater species , is frequently a waiting game . Ferocious feeders , dogtooth tuna can be lured with burley , sound and flashers . Dive to 50 to 70 feet and wait ; expect them to circle into range like spanish mackerel . According to Australian Greg Pickering , while the side shot is encountered most frequently , it ’ s better to maneuver yourself above the fish and shoot from there . “ This fish is hard to kill from the side ,” he says . “ The most
Cameron Kirkconnell with a beautiful dogtooth tuna . Photo by Brian Head