- Sarda australis
A member of the Mackeral family, the Australian Bonito is a great fighter, with a less than stellar reputation as table fare.
Bonito appear when the water temperature exceeds 20°C. They chase baitfish such as whitebait and often can be caught inshore when the bait is present.
The fish are famous for 'fighting above their weight' and are known for taking much line and multiple dives. In NSW, Bonito up to 60cm are not uncommon and provide excellent sport on light gear.
When catching Bonito that will be consumed later, it is important to properly bleed the fish, to preserve the quality of the meat. As opposed to other fish, the eating quality of Bonito can actually be improved by quickly freezing the fish (which helps to preserve the flesh's firmness). Fillets are then seared on the outside for only a few seconds at a very high heat, then immersed in ice-water to stop cooking. Served with Soy and spring onion, the fish can be an excellent meal.
Kayak Anglers can catch Bonito with small baitfish-mimic fly patterns, metal slices retrieved quickly, or on the troll.
There are several ways to catch Bonito. I have caught two - one on the troll with a saltwater surface fly, tied by Bombora, in about 10m close in at Long reef and the other jigging a Gillies 60g metal fish in 50m (taken close to the bottom and it took the assist hook) about 5km off Long Reef