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Bonito Fishing in Florida

Written by Capt. Noah on Wednesday, 29 May 2013. Posted in Fish Info

Members of the Sardini tribe in the Scrombridae family, there are seven species of Bonito found in the warm oceanic waters of the world. Also called Bonita, these predatory fish are medium in size and highly sought-after by anglers for either dinner or bait. In Florida, we catch the Atlantic Bonito and they give anglers a sturdy fight indeed, considering their size.

Smaller Bonito prefer to keep close to shore where they can be found hiding in structures such as bridges, piers, rocks, debris and pilings. As they get larger, they will move into offshore islands, coral reefs, wrecks and banks. These fish are not game fish and are usually caught when targeting another species entirely. However, they are exciting to catch and are an essential ingredient for catching larger game fish.

A perfect beginner fish for aspiring anglers and youngsters, Bonito have an extremely oily flesh. This makes them fantastic bait fish for larger predators such as sharks, barracudas, billfish and others. They are usually caught from the shores of Florida, making them a good target for any angler. People rarely travel offshore to catch them. Here is some information to help you catch Bonito in Florida:

Tackle for Bonito

Your tackle will depend on where you are fishing for these fish and their size. 10lb line will be sufficient for keeping smaller ones out of near-shore structures, while up to 15lbs or 20lbs will be wiser offshore where they are bigger. A 7lb quality rod is light enough and will work well.

Bait for Bonito

Live, silvery fish such as sardines and anchovies are readily devoured by Bonitos. Cut bait produces good results, as do lures.

Techniques for Bonito

These feisty fish are pretty easy to catch. Small hooks with bait on them do the trick really nicely, as do shiny and flashy lures. Here are the most common methods to use when catching Bonito in Florida:

  • Lures such as silver Rapala plugs are highly effective. Rig them with shiny spoons and cast into or near them. Not easily scared away, Bonito will happily chase a steady running lure such as a Crystal Minnow. Using an erratic lure such as the Krocadile while retrieving steadily is just as successful.
  • Live and frozen baits produce the best results. You can use a teaser such as chum to entice them to you. They will come close to your boat because they are not shy, then you can drop hooked baits into their midst and enjoy the feeding frenzy.

Call today to book your Bonito Fishing Charter in Florida and prepare to catch many of them.

About the Author

Capt. Noah

Capt. Noah

Noah is a United States Coast Guard licensed captain and PADI divemaster. He grew up in South Florida and has a passion for all things involving water. He is one of the rare bread of boaters who loves sailing and power boating. Noah sails competitvely and enjoys travelling, photography, and cooking. 


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