Atlantic Bonito is not a tasty table fare but it’s a popular game fish in coastal waters as shallow at 15 feed and as deep as 300. The best technique for catching Bonito is trolling using feather lures but they’ll just as readily take live bait, cut bait, jigs and soft plastics. Peak Season for catching Bonito is May through August.
How to identify Atlantic Bonito
The characteristic stripes on the back, and not the belly, of the fish are a give-away when looking for Atlantic bonitos. They have the same body shape as tuna but are skinnier. Atlantic bonito have small pectoral fins and sharp teeth. The belly and lower part of the bonito are silver while the upper body is blue-green or steel blue. Behind their anal fin, they have finlets that help stabilize them as they swim.
Where to catch Atlantic Bonito
The Atlantic bonito is an oceanic fish that prefers the tropical and temperate waters along the Atlantic Ocean. Occasionally, these fish can be found in the Caribbean Sea or the Gulf of Mexico. They are quite common in the Black and Mediterranean Seas. Atlantic bonito frequent waters ranging from Argentina to Nova Scotia, through South Africa, and up to Norway.
Atlantic bonito travel in schools and migrate to feed on smaller fish and squid. They usually feed at or near the surface of the water about 15-20 miles offshore. It can be easy to spot the bonito because they often skip or leap out of the water as they search for prey.
The following are habitats where you can catch Atlantic Bonito:
- Baitfish Schools
- Coastal Waters
- Deep Shore Water
- Floating Foam and Debris
- Reefs, Wrecks and Shoals
How to catch Atlantic Bonito
Trolling, casting, jigging, or live bait fishing are the most popular methods for catching Atlantic bonito. These fish can be caught all year, but the late spring through summer and the best times to look for them.
The following are effective fishing methods and techniques for catching Atlantic Bonito:
Best Lures, Bait & Tackle to catch Atlantic Bonito
The most effective baits to use for Atlantic bonito include small schooling fish, squid, strip baits, cut fish, and artificial lures.
The following are fishing lures, bait and tackle that can be used to catch Atlantic Bonito: