Tuna, Dog tooth

(Gymnosarda unicolor)

Commonly referred to as Dogies!

The dog tooth tuna is one of only two species of tuna that have teeth and is the only tuna species that is a member of its own genus. The smaller, less fearsome bonito is the only other species of tuna that comes toothily clad with the dog tooth proving to be the meanest looking tuna of the bunch! They are famous for their tackle destroying power at large sizes making the dog tooth one of the most highly prized sport/game fish species on the planet!


Dog tooth tuna can be encountered in W.A. waters from as far south as Dampier right up to the Rowley Shoals region throughout W.A. and also parts of QLD. They prefer water depths of over 100 meters or more.


Dog tooth tuna can grow to a staggering 150kg in weight and measure well over 1.8 meters in length although most fish encountered around Australia average around  10 – 20kgs.


Dog tooth tuna prefer warmer, tropical waters and are most commonly encountered feeding along the edge of current lines, bait schools and deep reef ledges. Smaller fish can also be found in shallower areas with healthy reef systems and large numbers of bait fish present.


Dog tooth tuna can be easily recognised by their distinctive barrel like tuna shape and large dog like head full of sharp, dangerous teeth. They are typically green, blue to grey in colouration with a small forked tail.

Taste rating

  • Fifty Taste Rating

Dog tooth tuna are the most sensational tuna species to encounter on rod and reel and should be treated with respect and released immediately upon capture!

Sport rating

  • Ninety Sport Rating

Dog tooth are a fantastic game fish species and deserve the respect of all anglers who target them!

Tackle requirements

Medium to heavy lever drag trolling outfits or spinning combos are best suited for targeting dog tooth in most situations. Rods and reels capable of holding large capacities of  50 – 80lb line are most commonly used and are attached to wind on leaders of around 150 – 250lb in breaking strain. Larger fish respond better to deep live baiting or trolling techniques and require heavier stand up tackle in the 24 – 37kg range. Heavy wire leaders are necessary to prevent bite offs. Dog tooth over 100kg are rarely encountered by recreational anglers in Australia.

Recommended baits, lures and rigs

Live and fresh dead baits such as gar fish, mullet, flying fish and mackerel are all ideal baits for targeting large dog tooth tuna, with medium to large deep diving and bibless lures also proving to be quite effective on smaller specimens. Larger fish are generally taken in deeper , continental waters on deep trolled baits.

Handy hints and tips

Try to ensure all baits, lures and tackle used are of premium quality, there are no second chances when it comes to tangling with big dog tooth!

Preferred fishing times and tides

Most pelagic game fish species prefer low or high tide changes and new moon phases.


[What The Fish]