Fishing for bonito is a lot of fun, but usually they are caught when trolling for other species. Bonito are found both in the Atlantic and the Pacific. The pacific bonito is smaller, with the all tackle world record weighting in at 14 lbs. 2 oz. The Atlantic bonito record is 18 lbs. 4 oz. Even though the bonito is related to the tuna, it is best known as a sport fish rather than for food. If you’re interested in reading more about fishing for other types of fish, click here.
The pacific bonito are found in pockets from chili to the Gulf of Alaska. They are most abundant from Baja California to Point Conception, California. The Atlantic bonito is found from Nova Scotia to Argentina. In North America the Atlantic bonito’s largest populations are found between southern New England and New Jersey. They are rare in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.
Bonito are easiest to catch at sunrise and dusk when they feed heavily. They tend to be close to the top water feeding on shrimp, squid, and other smaller bait fish. The fish seem to prefer anchovies and sardines where available. Top poppers and other top water lures that imitate these fish are very effective.
Atlantic bonito spawns in June and July. They reach their sexual maturity when they are about 16 inches long. They will move close to the shore and lay their eggs in the warm water. Pacific bonitos spawn in the spring when the water warms up. If the coastal waters are late getting warm because of a long winter they may not show up. Fishing maps will help you locate the best areas. Click here if you would like to read more bout using fishing maps.