Bonito/Spanish Mackerel April 2018
What a way to kick off the fishing season! For those who have never experienced it, Bonito fishing is an incredibly action packed season which lasts for only 3 weeks or so starting around mid April. Perfect for those who just want a half day trip or are not sure about running 20 miles + offshore, Bonito are sunrise feeders and typically are found within 5 miles of the beach. Bonito are in the tuna family and have a similar texture and taste to Yellowfin. What better way to catch a beautiful spring sunrise, load up on sushi grade fillets and be back to the marina for a late brunch!?! (The picture above was taken at 9am!)
It doesn’t get any more convenient! Our two closest artificial reefs tend to provide the hottest action. Our preferred spot is the 5 Mile Boxcar/AR 372 (N34 06.217 W077 44.950). The Liberty Ship/AR 370 (N34 10.467 W077 45.067) is also usually productive, but with its extreme proximity to Masonboro Inlet tends to attract more boats. Keep moving until you find the bite or look to tell tale signs like birds and bait.
Trolling is the best way to target Bonito until a surface school is spotted. Lighter trolling rods/reels are preferred but King Mackerel setups will do. You will also want several medium spinning combos on board as well. We run up to 5 trolling lines at a time but depending on how hot the fishing is and your level of experience, you may want to limit it to 2-3 to avoid a tangled mess! Using planers is the most popular trolling method for this fishery, and I’ll run a #1 on both sides of the boat and a #3 down the center. Clarkspoons work fine, but we prefer 1 1/2″ Drone Spoons on about 40ft of 30 lb flourocarbon leader. Yozuri Deep Divers can be deployed on the spinning rods if your boat is equipped with spreaders. A couple of spinning rods should also be ready and rigged with Hopkins Spoons, Yozuris or other casting lures that can be thrown long distance for surface action. Although this may sound complicated, it really isn’t and is a great way to learn different trolling techniques and the best part? $0 spent on bait!