Scientific Name: Sarda sarda
Ideal Temp: 53-80ºF (12-27ºC)
Environment: Nearshore, Offshore
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
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.