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How to catch *Bonito*?

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bymorris

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How to catch *Bonito*?

PostMon Mar 15, 2010 5:24 pm

Looks I'm headed *EAST* on March 27th to do some Bonito fishing.

I've been told they only run about 1 or 2 weeks out of the year.

Anybody got any pointers how to catch them? Live Bait? Troll? Troll Speed? Weather? Time of year? Like I've said many times I'm new at this stuff and just trying to soak up all the info I can.

Here are some pictures I found online of some good looking Bonitos
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-Brent
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Re: How to catch *Bonito*?

PostMon Mar 15, 2010 5:58 pm

I caught a lot of these guys in Pensacola Fl; we would watch for diving birds and busting pods of fish and quietly approach them. We fly-fished for them and if not harrasssed or run over by other boats they would take almost anything. Small plugs like gotchas and soft plastics (shad like) in white or natural colors worked really well interms of conventional tackle.
I've had much more success with light tackle stuff; 10-15lb class line with flourocarbon leader. They can be VERY spooky.
If you have ever joined in the albie run downeast in the fall, this is similar. They are strong little speedsters. A constant run against the drag for a minute isn't unusal.
I don't have any experience trolling for them, didn't fish that way. I would guess that small baits, trolling plugs will work, but boat traffic may be an issue as a lot of people will just troll right through the pods and put them down/scatter them.
I'm not sure where they hang out off the NC coast, but someone wil probably chime in soon.

Even if you get skunked at least you'll be out in the salt running your boat, that's worth the price of admission.
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nc11

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Re: How to catch *Bonito*?

PostTue Mar 16, 2010 6:27 pm

Those are two different fish in the photos above.
The first one is a bonito, they are very tasty.
The second one is a bonita, they are not tasty at all. They are bloody and smelly and make excellent cut bait or even strips for trolling.

Both are much fun to catch - strong and fast for their size. The Bonito run is short, usually when the warming water is between 60 - 63 degrees. If you can find them on the surface casting is the best way to catch them. Send out something relatively small, let it sink for a while and retrieve as fast as you can. They are often mixed in with the bluefish and sometimes with the Spaniards. We also use small Yo-zuri deep diver plugs to troll for them. If you are lucky enough to boat one, don't over cook it - meat is white, but like it's bigger brothers tastes much better relatively rare. Makes excellent ceviche.

Bonita's are out there a lot more often. Right now there are many 25-40 miles off. They are also in close to the beach in the fall. Bite is apparently particularly good around Cape Carteret in the Fall (grass is always greener, eh?). Surface casting is also a lot of fun for these fish.

Others may have found otherwise, but I think bonitas are generally bigger. I have caught bonitas to 15 pounds. Biggest bonito I have seen was about 6 pounds.
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Re: How to catch *Bonito*?

PostWed Mar 24, 2010 11:14 pm

Brent, what inlet are you going to be running out of? The Atlantic Bonito, False Albacore, and Lil Tunny's are all still in the 25mile range, though some are in the 15 mile range. If you are trolling, pulling dead cigars and chubs works slow (basically like kings) and pulling Clarkspons, Drones, plugs on planers works well fast. Pink/Flash and Purple/Black work well in Yozuri Deep Divers. Being quiet helps alot as they are "spooky".

If you want to cast for them, get on the outside of the school and throw a 3" Maria Jig in Pink/Flash. Be prepared to move, as you will probably only get 2-3 cast before the school moves. They key on structure, so all of the AR's over hard bottom will hold them. Typically, they feed on small Alewifes, and glass minnows, and sometimes very small squid. If you catch a bluefish or any of the THREE "false tunas", pay attention to what they are coughing up. Pick a bait/jig that looks like what they are eating.

The easy way to remember which of the three are good to eat (so to speak) is the "good ones" have teeth. The other two don't. I won't go into the characteristics of all three fish, since they can be so hard to tell apart. It is a good idea to look them up online or in McLanes New Standard Fishing Encyclopedia.

tim
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bymorris

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Re: How to catch *Bonito*?

PostThu Mar 25, 2010 11:59 pm

tango2echo wrote:Brent, what inlet are you going to be running out of? The Atlantic Bonito, False Albacore, and Lil Tunny's are all still in the 25mile range, though some are in the 15 mile range. If you are trolling, pulling dead cigars and chubs works slow (basically like kings) and pulling Clarkspons, Drones, plugs on planers works well fast. Pink/Flash and Purple/Black work well in Yozuri Deep Divers. Being quiet helps alot as they are "spooky".

If you want to cast for them, get on the outside of the school and throw a 3" Maria Jig in Pink/Flash. Be prepared to move, as you will probably only get 2-3 cast before the school moves. They key on structure, so all of the AR's over hard bottom will hold them. Typically, they feed on small Alewifes, and glass minnows, and sometimes very small squid. If you catch a bluefish or any of the THREE "false tunas", pay attention to what they are coughing up. Pick a bait/jig that looks like what they are eating.

The easy way to remember which of the three are good to eat (so to speak) is the "good ones" have teeth. The other two don't. I won't go into the characteristics of all three fish, since they can be so hard to tell apart. It is a good idea to look them up online or in McLanes New Standard Fishing Encyclopedia.

tim


I'm fishing out of the *Beaufort Inlet"

Great info guys. Thanks a lot.

Although the weather is not looking so good we are still going to make the trip and see how it goes. I'll keep everybody posted if we make it out.
-Brent
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Re: How to catch *Bonito*?

PostFri Mar 26, 2010 11:07 pm

Brent, water temps are still to cool. Need to find at least 63 - 64 degree water temps and that will increase the odds. They will not arrive up around Morehead till maybe 2nd week of April. Last year, they came in around New River, then followed the warmer water back out and missed Beaufort Inlet area. Casting Diamond Jigs, 3/4 oz or 1 oz works great. Keep an eye on reports coming from southport, wrightsville beach, new river areas as they will be getting there first.

I will be down there on april 9 and april 10.

But on the plus side, they are catching blues right now. Use the clark spoons on planers or trolling sinkers. If you want red drum, go up to the shoals past bardens inlet (cape lookout). Red Drum are thick in there right now. So thick, they say water has a gold tint to it. Here's a link, watch the vid for red drum tips and what they are doing: http://carolinafishingtv.com/New_Episode.html
There is slot sizes, so be sure to read the new regulations for them.
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Re: How to catch *Bonito*?

PostThu Apr 15, 2010 3:42 am

Just thought Id share what we do with these and most species of Tuna that go up to 15-20lbs - I have to remember you guys are not on the metric system :D .
we use mainly feather jigs when on the troll as well as Christmas tree skirts, and also use metal slices/ plugs, up to about 2 inches. These fish have good size teeth so Fluoro carbon would be an idea. If you are into fly fishing they love whit deceivers in 2/0 size..
There is an old saying of match the hatch, and if over there is the same as here then you will find there is probably heaps of bait around that 2" size. Then just look in your tackle box and throw everything in that size at them, they are speedy little critters so wind as fast as you can or troll at around 5-8 knots.
Hope this helps
It might look like a 16 foot aluminium boat but its really a 220 Baysport, At least it will be soon..

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