Atlantic Bonito

The Atlantic bonito is a large mackerel and tuna like fish of the family Scombridae.  The range of Sarda sarda extends from Norway to South Africa, including the Mediterranean and Black Sea in the eastern Atlantic, and from Nova Scotia to the northern Gulf of Mexico in the western Atlantic. While it generally does not appear in the Caribbean Sea, it has been found in Colombia and Venezuela (Collette and Nauen 1983). This species has not been recorded in northeast and central Brazil but occurs in south Brazil to Argentina.

This is a small and quite streamlined tuna. It is the only tuna with longitudinal stripes on its back. The skipjack tuna has longitudinal lines, but they are on the belly rather than the back. The back and upper sides are steel-blue. Common to 2 feet and 4-5 pounds. It can occasionally reach 12-15 pounds in weight, and rarely over 20 pounds.

Atlantic bonito are relentless predators from the time they hatch. Adults eat all types of fish, including herrings, menhaden, hake, mackerels, anchovies, as well as shrimp and squid. They are known to live at least 9 years, but are not large fish. They typically reach sexual maturity at age 2. Spawning takes place in the early summer. On the Atlantic coast, where they are more common, Atlantic bonito form large schools, often mixed with bluefish and mackerel.

Species Information

Scientific Name:Sarda sarda
Environment:Nearshore, Offshore
Ideal Temp:53-80ºF (12-27ºC)
Technique:Bottom Fishing, Casting, Chunking, Fly, Jigging, Trolling
Lure Type:Bottom Rig, Flies, Jigs, Plugs, Spoons, Topwater, Trolling
World Record:8.3 kg (18 lb 4 oz) Faial Island, Azores, Portugal
Other Names:katonkel, atlantic bonito

Latest Atlantic Bonito Fishing Reports and Spots

King Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel, and Atlantic Bonito - 7/23/2019 12:44:56 AM

Late fishing report for 5-15-2019 Caught King Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel, and Atlantic Bonito on Clark spoons. (View)

Topsail / Sneads Ferry – May 9 2019 - 5/17/2019 1:16:11 AM

Mike of Native Son Guide Service reports that the nearshore bite has been excellent with both Atlantic bonito and spanish mackerel schooled up i (View)

Atlantic Bonito Tackle and Tactics - 12/3/2018 9:06:39 PM

  Saltwater Edge Tackle and Tactics: Atlantic Bonito Atlantic Bonito are typically the first of the “ocean speedsters” to arrive in the waters (View)

Carolina Beach – May 12 2016 - 5/13/2016 3:56:32 PM

Red of Island Tackle and Hardware reports that plenty of Atlantic bonito are being caught around 4-5 miles off the beach with many boats filling (View)

Wilmington Fishing Charters Spring Fishing Report - 5/3/2016 11:26:30 PM

Spring Wilmington Fishing Charters Report | ProFishNC Charters | Spring 2016 | Capt Trev in short its Time to Book your Fishing Charter. Well f (View)

ProFishNC Charters: Topsail Beach Wrightsville Beach & Carolina Beach Fishing Report - 5/2/2015 4:56:21 AM

ProFishNC Charters Spring Fishing Report for April 16 – 27th Spring Fishing Techniques and Fishing Forecast Spring Charter Fishing Action is ON (View)

Topsail Island – April 23 2015 - 4/25/2015 7:46:23 PM

Doug of East Coast Sports reports that anglers are finding Atlantic bonito around Divers Rock the F Buoy and other nearshore spots off New River (View)

Carolina Beach – April 23 2015 - 4/25/2015 7:46:20 PM

Wes of Island Tackle and Hardware reports that anglers are hooking some sea mullet croaker and small flounder while surf fishing along Pleasure (View)

Wrightsville – April 9 2015 - 4/13/2015 6:11:24 AM

Arlen of Tex’s Tackle reports that the spring fishing action is slowly coming around and anglers have plenty more to look forward to around the (View)

Bonito Photo Contest Win a Quantum Smoke - 11/27/2014 10:55:19 AM

Give us your best shot! Post your best photo of an Atlantic Bonito and win a Quantum Smoke! The Quantum Smoke is a great light tackle reel. It’s (View)