Fight club: Dogtooth Tuna vs Giant Trevally

No, this isn’t an article about the 1999 American film starring award-winning American actor Brad Pitt. Surely a great movie that most of us would have enjoyed watching 20 years ago, however, this is a fishing blog and today we are comparing two awesome fish species many anglers would love the opportunity to catch. We want to compare the strength and the power of these two brutal fighting machines both of which inhabit the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific region. These both can be caught jigging in the Andaman Islands, the Seychelles, Oman, Madagascar, Sudan, Mauritius and its Sudan Bank, Zanzibar and Australia for example. We’re talking about two extremely strong and energetic game fish: the giant trevally and the dogtooth tuna.

Dogtooth tuna caught in Madagascar

Dogtooth tuna caught in Madagascar

The Giant Trevally

Distributed throughout the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific region, the Giant Trevally – also known as GT – (Caranx ignobilis) is the most wanted fish species for popping lovers. They can grow up to 1,70 cm long and reach an impressive weight of 80 kg (175 lb)!

Giant Trevally enjoys living in shallow bays and lagoons, although the adults also love deeper reefs, offshore atolls and large embayments. They’re caught via a variety of fishing techniques including trolling, live bait fishing, jigging, fly fishing, however, without a doubt the most exciting way to catch them is by popping.

Casting large poppers and stick-baits in shallow areas, close to reefs, the best way to entice a GT to strike is by using the pop and pause technique. To do this, pull the rod and then pause as you wind up any slack, popping 3-4 times and then pause works too. The important thing to try when aiming to get the attention of any GT’s is to work the lures with a lot of action and to mix up the retrieving rate (slow, fast, pauses…)

Giant Trevally in Madagascar

Catch and Release of a Giant Trevally in Madagascar (pic from Philippe Maronne, Emeraude Fishing)

Once you’ve set the hook, the GT will unleash his power and he’s going to take multiple long and powerful runs. It’s important to stop these runs, because the more line the Giant Trevally takes, the higher the possibility a fisherman has to lose the fish.

The Dogtooth Tuna

Dogtooth tuna (Gymnosarda unicolor), also referred to as Doggies or white tuna, are probably one of the most sought after species for sport fishermen, if either jigging or spinning the preferred fishing techniques. Apart from breaking your back, landing one of these brutal fighting machines is no doubt an unforgettable experience.

Manou and his mate with a great Dogtooth tuna

Manou fishing charter in Madagascar and his mate with a great Dogtooth tuna

Doggies live in tropical waters of the Indian Ocean from northern Australia, Polynesia and Vanuatu to Japan, and from the Maldives, the Red Sea to Madagascar.

They can grow as large as 250cm (8 feet) and can weigh a whopping 130kg, we told you these fish are strong and powerful.

Fishing Tackle

If you want to catch one of these powerful game fish then kit yourself out with the best fishing gear and equipment otherwise the chances of landing a fish once hooked are limited. Here’s a selection of the recommended tackle including rods, reels, lures, poppers and other gear for Giant Trevally and Dogtooth Tuna fishing!

Madagascar GT fishing

Madagascar GT fishing poppers


Normally dogtooth tuna are found in the deep waters whereas giant trevally are often in the shallows but also go to deeper reefs & drop-offs. For topwater GT popping, we recommend for example the Daiwa Saltiga Airportable Popping Rod, Daiwa Saltiga GT 8’6″ Popping Rod, OTI Tuna Sniper 2 Long Cast Popping Rods, Carpenter Coral Viper 79MH, Ripple Fisher F-Stick GT79 Reversal or the Ripple Fisher F-Stick GT82 Long Cast Original (Black). By the way, long GT popping rods are also great for tuna fishing with top water lures.

For vertical jigging, we prefer the Shimano SPEED MASTER (jigging) jig max 200 gm, Tenryu Jigging rods, Smith Rods. 


Famous heavy duty deep sea fishing, spinning and jigging reels are Daiwa 2020 Saltiga Spinning Reel (spinning & popping), Daiwa Dogfight Spinning Reel (popping), Penn Slammer Reels, Shimano Stella Saltwater Spin Reels, etc.


There’s a wide range of Poppers: Halco Roosta Popper Surface Lure, Nomad Chug Norris Popper, Nomad Riptide Stickbait Lure, OTI Komodo Popper, OTI Thunnus Stickbait, Amegari Dzanga, Blaze Garage Kimitsu, Blaze Garage Swoop, FCL Labo Ebipop, Flake Lures Tropic Thunder.

Great dogtooth tuna jigs include Black Magic Flipper Jig, FCL Labo SL Jig, FCL Labo MSL, Fisherman Andaman Jig, Jigging Master Diamond Eye, Jigging Master Diamond Eye Long, Maxel Bumblebee, Nomad Buffalo, Maxel Dragonfly.


Braided lines are significantly thinner than monofilament. The thinner the line the farther one can cast which ensures you can cover more fishing area with your lure. When jigging, thinner lines allow the jigs to sink faster and don’t have as much resistance which is important when there are strong currents. Power Pro and Berkeley’s Spider Wire are great fishing line brands to use when fishing for GT and doggies.


As you can imagine heavy-duty hooks are required when fishing for giant trevally and dogtooth tuna as landing these large and strong fish requires a bit of work. BKK Lone Diablo Inline Single Hooks, Owner Stinger Treble Hook ST-66TN 4X, BKK Lentus Slow Jigging are great hooks for this hardcore fishing and have been proven to be a strong and reliable fishing hook for anglers.

As you can imagine the above fishing gear is not only a specialised selection of equipment but also expensive (some rods costing more than 1000€). If you are just getting into the sport of fishing then buying all of this at once might not be the best option. Possibly trying this style of fishing and practising the required techniques with a knowledgeable guide is the first step.

We at TomsCatch have plenty of fishing charters in a variety of locations that specialise in targeting both giant trevally and dogtooth tuna. Depending on the time of year you can find charters in Australia, Asia, Africa and many more locations. Contact us to arrange a charter for you in any desired destination and then if you become a fishing addict like us possibly look to upgrade your fishing gear and tackle.