BIGEYE TUNA (Thunnus obesus) RANGE: Uncommon but present off all Florida coasts, the Bahamas and the Caribbean.
HABITAT: The open sea. As the bigeye proves, it stays deep most of the time and so may not be as rare as as the low number of angling encounters would indicate.
DESCRIPTION: Confusingly similar in looks to the Yellowfin TunaÐeven down to the yellow inlets edged in black. The gold stripe common to the Yellowfin is usually absent, but may be dimly present. The eye is indeed larger, but this might not be readily apparent without a side-by-side comparison. A scientist might have to examine the liver to be perfectly sure of identification with some specimens, but anglers seldom have to worry, simply because the Bigeye is a rare catch, whereas the Yellowfin is common in many areas.
SIZE: About the same range as the Yellowfin – from a few pounds to more than 300, but most taken off Florida have run 50-100 pounds. World record 435 pounds; Florida record 167 pounds.
FOOD VALUE: Excellent.
GAME QUALITIES: A good-sized Tuna. Enough said.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Not targeted but sometimes hits trolled lures or shows up in a chumline; see Yellowfin Tuna. Tuna Combo Guide
FISHING SYSTEMS: Drifting; Still Fishing; Trolling