Atlantic Bonito

Sarda sarda

Other Names
common bonito, katonkel, belted bonito,

Atlantic Bonito are identified by their color, the conspicuously wavy lateral line, 16 to 22 gill rakers on the first arch, and the three lateral keels on the caudal peduncle. The species has a steel-blue back and upper sides punctuated by 5 to 11 dark, slightly oblique stripes that run forward and downward. The lower sides are silver. The skipjack tuna, Euthynnus pelamis, is also striped, but the markings are along the lower sides and belly.

Typical Habitat
The Atlanitc bonito will inhabit either brackish or coastal saltwater areas. This migratory species is commonly found schooling.

Feeding Habits
As soon as the young bonito are able to feed, they waste no time in searching for prey. The species has been described as an insatiable predator that feeds throughout the day, but probably most frequently at dawn and dusk. Larvae feed on other fish larvae, but prefer copepods; juveniles also consume larvae. Adults eat larger fish such as mackerels, anchovies, alewives, menhaden, and silversides as well as squids and shrimps.

Age and Growth
Growth is rapid. A bonito's maximum size is about 36 inches in length and a weight of about 27 pounds.

Sporting Qualities
Bonito are commonly caught by trolling anglers who are looking for a bigger catch. In that scenario (heavy tackle) they do not put up much of a fight. However they are a favorite target fish among light and medium-tackle anglers. Anyone targeting Atlantic bonito should try trolling feather lures pulled close to the boat. Bonito prefer a lively bait, so consider trolling a little faster for this species.

Bonito are also very common game for shoreside anglers. Cast flies and lures that resemble baitfish commonly found nearshore from the beach, jetties or rocks.

Food Quality
Atlantic bonito are closely related to tuna. They are very good eating but server little comercial purpose. They are served salted, smoke, dried or canned in many countries.

World Record
18 lbs. 4 ounces Faial Island, Azores

Preferred Temps
64 to 80

Material from eAngler.com.

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