THE dogtooth tuna is a vicious sea predator and sought after gamefish by sport fishermen seeking challenges.
Uncommon in Malaysian waters, except in the South China Sea around the Spratly Islands, anglers travel far to find this pelagic fish.
Dogtooth or white tuna, as it is sometimes called, is known as a stubborn fighter because of its tenacious behaviour and ability to give a good fight.
It dives straight down once it takes the bite and its rapid descent makes it a difficult species to land.
Its razor-sharp teeth and brute strength makes it a strong opponent in the tug-of-war with anglers. This species has even been known to cause the line to snap and bite through thick or wire leaders, which act as a buffer for its sharp bite.
This species is known to live in the shallow reef looking for food.
Those found here are smaller, averaging between 2kg and 20kg, while the bigger ones are found in the deepest waters.
To catch this species, a group of anglers recently headed to Padang in Sumatra, Indonesia.
It took two hours, after leaving the Padang port with a 60ft boat, to arrive at the fishing spot nearer to many islands, all facing the Indian Ocean.
To kill time during the journey, eager anglers prepared their tackles, ready for action.
On the three-night, four-day trip, aside from landing an average of between 2kg and 10kg dogtooth — the record catch for this outing was 16kg — anglers also caught a wide range of other species at many fishing spots.
There was plenty of non-stop adrenaline rushing action. There were also a lot of near misses with the line snapping due to the sheer size of the fish, especially the dogtooth, that took the bait.
While some of the catch were released back into the sea as many of the anglers believe in catch-and-release, a few of them ended up in the cooking pot as the day’s meal.
There are several ways to land the dogtooth. One can use live or dead bait to hunt for the species or artificial lures and jigs to haul it up. Surface popping lures are also effective while trolling is recommended in deep waters which normally see a larger catch.
For this type of fishing, heavy gear is required.
A 4500 to 5000 series spinning reel or a strong multiplier like Penn level drag reel is encouraged for the job.
A strong medium heavy to heavy rod with the length of five-and-a-half feet to six feet would be a good choice to complement the reels.
A 100lb braided line is advisable if one is going for dogtooth.
Of course, a pair of strong arms and legs are also required to pump and play the rod to tire out the fish before it can be pulled up.
While there were many dogtooth caught during the outing, many of the anglers decided to return for bigger catch. As such, they have asked Kian Loon of More and More fishing, the organiser of the trip, to take them to his secret location off the coast of Padang next time. Kian Loong can be reached at 016-464 9244 or at www.facebook.com/moremorefishing.