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Bonito

Sarda sarda

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.

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.

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

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.