How to Fly Fish for Bonito

How to Fly Fish for Bonito
Bonito is a salt water game fish which is typically on the smaller size when compared to other large salt water species. A typical bonito will range between 18 to 24 inches in length and average around four to six pounds in weight. Bonito may be caught from the shore, from piers, as well as from boats. Bonito are a toothy and bony fish which are prized as a game fish for their fight rather than for food.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • 8 to 9 foot fly rod with matching reel (minimum 8 weight rod)
  • Matching fly line (should match the rod weight), leader and tippet
  • A variety of streamer flies to imitate swimming bait fish
Step 1
Locate the bonito whether it be along the shore line or in open water from a boat using a fish detector or sighting them from the boat. Bonito are often easily seen swimming in larger schools as they chase bait fish.
Step 2
Cast the streamer or other shiny attractor wet fly to the schooling bonito. False casting, or not allowing the fly to touch the water, will often times bring bonito to the or near the surface.
Step 3
Slowly retrieve the fly back toward the rod by taking in fly line. Mix up the rate of retrieval to more closely imitate a live bait fish.
Step 4
Allow a bonito to completely take the streamer before setting the hook. Avoid the temptation to instantly set the hook upon contact as this may pull the fly from the mouth of the fish.
Step 5
Play the fish by allowing it to fight against the line for a short period of time. This will tire the fish somewhat and make landing the fish easier to accomplish.

Tips & Warnings

Do not allow the fly line, leader, or tippet to become wrapped around rocks or objects along the shore or around a boat as this may cause the line to snap.
Use caution when landing a bonito as they have bony skeletons and sharp teeth.
Take care when handling streamers as the hook will typically honed very sharp.

Article Written By Tara Dooley

Tara Dooley has written for various websites since 2008. She has worked as an accountant, after-school director and retail manager in various locations. Dooley holds a Bachelor of Science in business management and finance.

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