Segur de Calafell, Tarragona (ES)
There are four unique species of bonito. Bonito (Sarda sarda) comes from the word meaning “pretty” in Portuguese. They prey on smaller fish such as menhaden, alewives, and mackerel as well as squid.
Bonito can be found in the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Black Sea. They are a migratory species, although there is some mystery surrounding how and where they migrate to. They have teeth for preying on large baitfish. Their speed, shape, and teeth make for a great hunter.
Bonito can be caught from the surf and they generally stick close to the shoreline. They’ll stay in the upper 15 feet near the surface and will hunt schools of baitfish.
Bonito can be found in the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Black Sea. Both shorelines of the Atlantic, east and west, can offer Atlantic bonito: Gulf of Mexico, Cape Cod, Long Island, Canary Islands, Madeira, Azores, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, Nothern Africa etc.
You can target fishing for bonito by either using dead bait, live bait or by casting lures. If you’re fishing for bonito with lures, you can use shiny plugs or shiny spoons for best results. Retrieve these lures steadily and ensure that they are highly reflective since that’s what bonito really like.
If you’re fishing with live bait, anchovies work well for eastern Pacific bonito, but depending on which of the many places you might be fishing for bonito, the preferred bait can change.
Atlantic bonito, found in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and the Black Sea, are known as good eating fish, primarily grilled or baked. Other species of bonito are often used as substitutes for tuna and are actually a cheaper alternative to tuna. The Pacific varieties of bonito might not be as good to eat as they’ll be tougher and darker meat, but certainly, any type of bonito can be cooked.
Most places do not have bag limits or size limits on bonito since they are not an overfished population. Depending on where you are you might need a migratory species license or an offshore fishing license.
In Atlantic United States waters there is no limit to catching bonito except in Florida state waters, where the total weight limit of bonito caught cannot exceed 100 pounds.
Regulations vary by location, so make sure to stay up to date with the regulations in your area of fishing if you plan on fishing without a charter.