The Flying Kayak

Hunting, Fishing, Rambling, and Complete Outdoor Hilarity

Sight Fishing for Bonito

With my latest beach fishing trip resulting in a total skunk, I wasn’t particularly excited about going back just to “cast around”. I was invited to do this today with my dad and his friend and I -almost- said no.

Boy am I glad I didn’t.

We arrived at the beach around noon and were met with a nearly flat Gulf. The wind was blowing strong from the north, and had managed to lay all the waves down. For those of you stuck some place where it’s cold, I apologize for the following pictures.

I soon began walking along the edge of the beach and casting a a jig out into the emerald green water. My hopes for Pompano or Redfish went away fairly quickly as it was pretty easy to see in the water, and I saw no sign of them.

Soon I noticed a lone Bonito cruising right along shore. I make a quick cast, and spooked him. He actually turned and went around my lure. I got my jig back and made another cast, this time a littler further in front of him. Two quick twitches, a splash, and my favorite sound of drag screaming; The fight was on.

He absolutely rocketed out to the first sand bar and then continued. I had to tighten the drag a little, then try to follow him down the beach. Soon I began to get nervous as my reel was looking extremely low on line and I could just barely see the fish. Luckily, the fish finally turned, and I started gaining line back one reel crank at a time. It took ten minutes, but I finally landed him. Since my dad and his friend were no where near me, I snapped a quick picture of him in the sand, and released him.

As I walked back to meet the others, I thought to myself how I was perfectly content with catching that one and only fish. I soon scratched that thought as I found out my dad and his friend had just lost two Bonito on the fly, and watched as my dad hooked and lost another.

I switched to a small silver pompano jig and watched the shallows. It was an amazing site to see as four Bonito came cruising down the beach, no more than 10 feet from shore. I made an almost awkardly short cast to them (so close I could have killed them with a rock) and watched as all four turned and chased my jig.

Once again, there was a splash, and my reel sang for a second time. This time I had people around to take pictures.

A few minutes later, my dad landed one on the fly.

And immediately after that, his friend got one with a fly as well.

I ended the afternoon by catching one last Bonito in a school of three. Once again, it put up an amazing fight, especially on light tackle.

I’ll be heading back out tomorrow to try for them again. This time, I’ll be using the fly rod and take the helmet camera. Hopefully I can come home with some blistered hands and more fish pictures!


  1. Reminds me of Step Brothers, “Are the Bonito big?”
    Beautiful fish man, I am full of envy.

  2. Awesome! I hear those things are a blast. There is a place in North Carolina that gets them inshore like that every year in November. I’m gunna try in the Yak one of these days.

  3. oh yeah…I think those are false albacore not bonito.

  4. Yeah, I guess I forget that more than just people from the Florida panhandle read this blog. I know they’re not true bonito, but false albacore.

    But if I called them false albacore around here, I’d probably get laughed at :)

    Oh and I think I’m gonna go after them in the yak thise week

  5. There are old timers up here that call Cobia bonito. Either way they are tuna and they are crazy tough! I never caught one, but I held a fresh caught one by the tail… it’s amazing how much power they have! That thing tried to jackhammer my arm off. Good luck with the FALSE ALBACORE in the yak šŸ˜‰

  6. Well you’ve gotta hook up to one if you can. Very few things fight like a bonito/false albacore/cobia/little tunny :)

    I’ve actually got a bruised thumb from holding one’s tail today.

  7. Snap, that sounds awesome. I may have to give that a try. Do they hang around the beaches all winter?

  8. Sounds fantastic, I’ve always wanted to catch one, especially on a fly. Does anyone eat them? I know they’re related to tuna, but I’ve never heard of anyone eating them.

  9. @Michissippi- They cruise up and down the beaches most of winter. I’m not exactly sure what makes them come practically to shore though. They were out past the bar all day today. If you come fish for them, bring waders.

    @Fontinalis- Some people do eat them. They are exceptionally bloody though (usually used as shark bait/chum). Recipes I’ve seen involve bleeding and soaking them. Lots and lots of soaking. I may keep one to try soon.

  10. Fantastic… I would love a day like that with the fly rod!

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