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name Season Bag Limit Size Limit Note
Bonito OPEN NA NA No Closed Season

Scroll to read our lastest NJ Bonito fishing reports



Other Names: Tunny, Bonita

General information 

Bonito tuna-like, schooling fish of the tuna and mackerel family, Scombridae (order Perciformes).   Bonitos are swift and powerful for their size. if you are fortunate enough to hook up with one, it will quickly take off and put up a fight.   They have striped backs and silvery bellies.  Like tunas, they are streamlined, with a narrow tail base, a forked tail, and a row of small finls behind the dorsal and anal fins. Bonitos are considered very good to eat.

NJ Fishing Season

Bonito is not currently a managed species. 

It is possible to catch Bonito in NJ waters from July until October.

Bonito Sizes

They can grow up to a length of about 30 inches (10-12 pounds).  They can be as small as 2 lbs.  Average is around 5 lbs.

Food (Bait)

Primarily Sand Eels and Squid.

Angling Tips

In the Summer months (when water temps are at least  in the mid 60's), most Bonito are caught trolling around mid-shore areas such as Barnegat Ridge, Oley's Lump, etc.    Anglers use a variety of sand eel type or squid like lures when casting or trolling.   Clark spoons trolled behind birds is a particularly effective method. In later Summer, Chumming be effective in drawing fish to the boat.  Sand Eels and/or Spearing is a good "go To" for this type of fishing.  Also, in late Summer and Early Fall, Bonito can some times be caught from close to the beach or from the beach.



In coastal waters, spawning occurs mostly June and July in the western Atlantic. They reach sexual maturity at about 16 inches in length. Spawning usually takes place close to shore, in warm coastal waters. By the end of the first year, females will sometimes spawn, although many wait until the end of their second year of life. They release 450,000 to 6 million eggs, depending on size. Growth is rapid.


As with most fish, the quality of the flesh and thus the flavor, will be best if the bonito is bled, gutted and iced as soon as possible after capture.


Cook as you would any Tuna.  Blackened or Grilled is great.



Latest NJ Bonito Reports

  • 2020-04-18 Ristori Bay Head

    Posted on April 18, 2020 July ICAST fishing tackle show cancelled Conditions are slowly improving with the pandemic, but there are still few fishing reports, and the annual fishing tackle show which introduces new tackle to the fishing trade has been cancelled. The annual ICAST event of the American Sportfishing Association was to be held July 14-17 in Orlando, Fl., but with no assurance that social distancing regulations will be down by then a decision had to be made before exhibits were shipped in from all over the world.
  • 2020-04-02 Ristori Bay Head

    Posted on April 2, 2020April 2, 2020 The big one that got away again! However, I did know that the IGFA world record on 30-pound was vacant and it would surely be a world record if the line tested out at 30-pounds or less.
  • 2020-03-27 Ristori Bay Head

    Posted on March 27, 2020March 27, 2020 Stripers best bet for weekend Striped bass in Raritan Bay are the best bet at present, if you can find a way to get at them. Relatively few anglers have boats in the water so far, and getting launched may be a problem as marinas aren t considered to be an essential business.
  • 2019-12-10 Ristori Bay Head

    Posted on December 10, 2019 Big bonito a surprise on Golden Eagle sea bass trip The Golden Eagle from Belmar completed their season with a Saturday to Sunday trip to far offshore sea bass wrecks that worked out well. Capt.
  • 2019-11-10 Andreas Toy Point Pleasant Beach

    Made the run, thanks Eric. Had Santiago back with son Andrew and buddies Tony Rob, Bob, and Jamie.
  • 2019-11-09 Ristori Bay Head

    Posted on November 9, 2019 Better weather tomorrow It may not be warmer, but the wind forecast for Saturday is a lot better with west winds at just 5-10 knots and dropping to a mere 5 knots in the afternoon. Ron Santee had a similar report from Thursday with a 15-pound pool winner and several large bonito on his Fishermen.
  • 2019-11-08 Ristori Bay Head

    Posted on November 8, 2019 Light tackle sport with Raritan Bay stripers The west wind was stronger than predicted, and there weren t as many birds as yesterday at the mouth of Raritan Bay when I joined Mark Roy on his Release Me from Raritan Marina this morning, but we soon spotted good marks that allowed us to pick away with school stripers. Vinny Vetere didn t have anyone to join him for monster striper fishing yesterday, so he went out himself on Katfish from Great Kills to try out new colors on his TGT bunker spoons.
  • 2019-10-30 Miss Belmar Belmar

    October 30th, 2019 Click here to learn more about stripers blues charters Stripers Blues Charters Today, we covered all grounds. The Royal Miss Belmar has a special whale watching trip every Sunday from 1 30 p. m. 4 30 p. m. The Miss Belmar Princess is the largest, fastest and cleanest fishing boat in Belmar.
  • 2019-10-19 Ristori Bay Head

    Posted on October 19, 2019 Yellowfins finally bite at night in canyons Right through last weekend s canyon trip, the Big Jamaica from Brielle had marked some tuna on canyon overnighters, but they wouldn t bite. The weekend trip produced a sword over 500 pounds by Chris Cholula of Freehold.
  • 2019-10-16 Ristori Bay Head

    Posted on October 16, 2019 Big stripers invade N. J. Many anglers seeking sea bass and bluefish were surprised to find themselves wrestling with jumbo stripers off the northern N. J.

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