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.
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 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.
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.
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.