Bigeye Tuna


Bracing for the Bigeye

Rare Tuna Charters in Oahu Waters

Named for its large, pulsing eyeballs, the Bigeye is common throughout the world but relatively rare in the seas near Oahu. Catching this animal near the island thus requires a stroke of luck in addition to savvy fishing skills, giving you a story to tell for the rest of your life.

Bigeye Fishing Off the Coast of Oahu

The Bigeye is rare enough in Oahu that it does not follow a clear seasonal pattern. Off of Maui and Kauai, however, it is most common between October and May; since many of the Bigeye that make it to Oahu come from those islands, this may be the best time to seek it. You are most likely to catch one at dusk or during the very early morning, and can identify it by following flocks of birds or schools of porpoises. You can use a wide variety of different lures, but the most successful ones tend to be those with dark colors.

In terms of size, the Bigeye falls somewhere between the Yellowfin and the Skipjack, with an average weight of 40 pounds. The largest in Hawaiian history, caught in 1996, was 228 pounds. This makes it a great target for intermediate fishers who want a challenge but aren’t quite prepared for a dangerous catch.

Bigeye Tuna Hawaii bigeye tuna

Hawaiian Name: ‘Ahi po’onui
Avg. Weight: 40 lbs.
Best Time of Year: October-April
IGFA World Record: 435 lbs.
Place: Cabo Blanco, Peru
Year: 1957
State Record: 228 lbs.
Place: Island of Hawaii
Year: 1996

Bigeye Tuna

Bigeye Tuna are typically smaller than Yellowfin and have much bigger eyes. Bigeye are seldom targeted in Hawaiian waters because Marlin, Yellowfin, and other species are so readily available. They are often caught by accident with Yellowfin.



Fishing Season Oahu Maui Kauai Big Island
January Peak Peak Peak
February Peak Peak Peak
March Peak Peak Peak
April Peak Peak Fair
May Peak Peak Fair
June Good Good Fair
July Good Good Fair
August Good Good Fair
September Good Good Fair
October Peak Peak Fair
November Peak Peak Fair
December Peak Peak Fair

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For Bigeye Tuna

Bigeye meat is one of the most coveted forms of tuna. With its high-fat content and heavy marbling, it is well suited to sushi and sashimi, as well as for grilling, pan-frying, or baking. Bigeye meat should not be cooked to the point that it loses its red color, as anything beyond medium-rare will become tasteless, dry, and tough.

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Sharted or Private

Whipsaw Sportfishing offers premium tuna charters for hunting all of Oahu’s great fish, no matter how rare. For more information on fishing for Bigeye and other aquatic game, book a shared or private fishing charter with us today.