All the year

Minimum size

25 inches

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Tuna is a popular and prized fish during recreative fishing games. Here is some useful information about Bigeye and Yellowfin if you want to fish in the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean.


Bigeye tuna (thunnus obesus) and Yellowfin tuna (thunnus albacares) spend their lives in warm aquatic areas. They are very popular and can be confused with one another because of their close physical likeness. Actually, these two types of tunas are a bit different: Bigeye has a slightly larger eye and its second dorsal and anal fins are shorter than a Yellowfin’s.
Bigeye tuna lives in temperate waters in tropical areas. It is between 60 and 250 cm long and its pectoral fins are as long as its second dorsal fin. Its body reflects the color of most tunas: metallic blue on the back, changing to white and silver on the belly and iridescent blue along the flanks. Dorsal and anal fins show a yellowish color. US fishermen report they often catch Bigeye tuna on their lines while they are fishing swordfish.
As for Yellowfin tuna, its length can be up to 240 cm and it can weigh up to 200 kg. It can be differentiated from Bigeye tuna thanks to a long yellow strip extending from its head to its tail. You can see metallic blue on the back and silver on the belly. Yellowfin tuna is also very appreciated by sport fishers. It is sometimes confused with Bluefin, which is another kind of tuna that lives in the same areas.

From February to May

Pole-and-line tuna vessels catch very few Bigeye and Yellowfin tuna from February to May, especially in the Atlantic Ocean whereas a seasonal index is difficult to estimate for tuna seiners in both Atlantic and Pacific Oceans because fishing seasons are different from one region to another. However, both Bigeye and Yellowfin tunas are easier to catch well after sundown or around one hour before the sunset.

From May to November

It is easier to catch Bigeye and Yellowfin tunas from May to November, especially in June and from September to November for thunnus albacares, and from May to July for thunnus obesus. During spring and autumn, they indeed tend to move in the fishing areas because of the mild temperatures. Also during summer Yellowfin tunas are very numerous inside the canyons when the water temperature is higher than usual. If you are fishing around the US, there is no doubt you will be able to catch one or several of them on your line.

From November to January

During early winter, Bigeye and Yellowfin tunas tend to move off from cold areas in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans as they prefer living in warmer areas. Fishers find it more difficult to fish, but it is not impossible to have a big catch on pole-and-line vessels and seiners as well.

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