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Bigeye Tuna

Illustrator
Duane Raver, Jr.
Season
Open Year-Round

All Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (Atlantic tunas, sharks, swordfish and billfish) not retained must be immediately released to ensure the maximum probability of survival, without removing the fish from the water.

*Special permit required - All private vessel owners/operators recreationally fishing for and/or retaining regulated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (Atlantic tunas, sharks, swordfish and billfish) for personal use in the Atlantic Ocean must obtain an Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Angling Permit. Further limits and restrictions apply.

Consult https://hmspermits.noaa.gov or call toll free (888) 872-8862 for specific information and permits.
Size Limit
27 inch minimum (measurement is taken in a line, tracing the contour of the body from the tip of the upper jaw to the fork of the tail, which crosses the dorsal insertion of the pectoral fin and the dorsal side of the caudal keel)
Daily Limit / Person
No Limit
Delaware Range
Atlantic Ocean
Abundance in Delaware Waters
Common
General Habitat and Food Preferences
The Bigeye Tuna is an oceanic species that prefers deep, wide open waters.

They are a schooling fish, often mixed with other tuna.

They feed primarily on shrimps, squids, mackerels, and other small tunas.
General Description
Bigeye Tuna are generally smaller than bluefin and larger than yellowfin.

This species is a dark metallic blue on the back and upper sides with white lower sides and belly.

The first dorsal fin is deep yellow, the second dorsal and anal fins are pale yellow, and the finlets are bright yellow with black edges.
Did You Know?
The heart of the Bigeye Tuna is relatively large as compared to other fishes.
Common Fishing Lures and Baits
Bigeye Tuna can be caught by trolling with rubber skirted lures or natural baits.

Bait fisherman often chum, called "chunking", when fishing for tuna. Chunking uses pieces of fish tossed into the water while drifting or anchored to attract tuna close to the fishing vessel. Anglers then drift a piece of fish with a hook in it, hoping for a bite.
Typical Sizes Caught
Bigeye Tuna are commonly caught in the range of 100 to 200 pounds by anglers.
Citation Minimum Lengths/Weights
Length: 48 inches (for Live Release Award only)
or
Weight: 70 pounds
Delaware State Record
873 pounds
Dan Dillon
2005

Bigeye Tuna are eligible for the general "Tuna" record which is held by an Atlantic bluefin tuna.

Bigeye Tuna are not currently eligible for an individual Delaware record.