Sunny Fishing Charters

BONITA FISHING: Turning Trash to Treasure

Peak Season: May-August
Best Charter: Half Day Offshore
Best Technique: Trolling
Best Bait: Feathers
Table Fare: Not Ideal

BONITA FISHING: Turning Trash to Treasure

Despite its humble reputation among South Florida fishermen, the bonita is a species worthy of recognition. Often dismissed as a trash fish, the bonita proves its worth on many occasions, rescuing slow days offshore with its spirited fights and voracious appetite. While not esteemed for its culinary qualities, bonita offer anglers thrilling battles and serve as excellent practice targets.


Bonita are opportunistic feeders, willing to strike a variety of offerings including live bait, dead bait, artificial lures, jigs, and soft plastics. Found in schools, they can quickly turn the cockpit into chaos, with multiple hookups a common occurrence. Although often considered a nuisance while kite fishing for sailfish, bonita present valuable opportunities for beginners honing their skills or anglers seeking excitement on light tackle.


Little Tunny, or Bonita, inhabit a broad range of depths, from as shallow as 15 feet to as deep as 300 feet off Miami’s coast. They are the most prevalent tuna species in the Atlantic Ocean, ranging from New England to Brazil and beyond. Despite their classification as highly migratory, bonita exhibit less migratory behavior compared to other tuna species.


While bonita are not prized for their culinary appeal, their dark red, oily meat with a strong flavor may not suit all palates. Some anglers opt to smoke bonita for fish dip or tuna salad, although this is not universally recommended. Instead, bonita are better utilized as bait, cut into strips or chunks to attract a wide variety of gamefish including mackerel, snapper, wahoo, mahi, sharks, and swordfish.

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