Bigeye tuna are found in the open waters of all tropical and temperate oceans, except the Mediterranean Sea. They are large, deep-bodied, streamlined fish with large heads and eyes. They have a unique physiology which allows them to forage in deeper colder waters and tolerate oxygen-poor waters.
Out of all the tunas, the Bigeye is my favorite. There is something different about a bigeye. Although they don’t get as big as the bluefin tuna, I believe pound for pound they are the hardest fighting of all the tunas.
I grew up fishing for bigeyes in the north east canyons off the Jersey Shore. Up there, to catch most of the pelagic species it’s a 75-100 mile run offshore. There are a series of canyons where the shelf drops from 500-2000+ feet. These drop offs create upwellings with the current and the fish hang around them to feed.
We typically target them by trolling lures or chunking dead bait at night. They typically swim in big schools and which results in multiple bites and that is exactly what happened with this fish. We were trolling out in the deep of one of the canyons and a few hours had gone by without a bite. All of the sudden 1, 2, 3… 7 rods go off. We had enough guys on the boat to manage and worked together to and land each fish one at a time.
This particular fish is about 80lbs; small for a bigeye but the perfect size to print. We’ve caught them there upwards of 275 lbs. Would love to one day get a print off a fish of that size. This is one of 4 prints I obtained off the fish and have two left to finish.