Bonito on the Fly

by | Mar 7, 2018 | fly fishing for bonito | 1 comment

Mornings are cool here on the Pacific side of Baja in March.  It’s also foggy until the sun comes up.  Regardless, myself, Sammy, Grant and our guide Jose left early in order to make the approximately 15-mile ride into the Pacific for a chance at yellowfin tuna on the fly.

 

There was also some preparation to be done before heading to sea.  When you find tuna they’re often hard to get near or keep within fly casting range.  A good technique is to throw a few dead baits in the water.  Immediately after we launched the panga Jose tossed his net and collected a few shinny small baitfish.

 

I love sunrise despite the discomfort of the cold.  On the ocean you watch the sunrise and many of the animals wake up.  This pelican was wide awake after I tossed him one of our baits.

 

 

Like yesterday we saw herds of gray whales.  As we exited Magdalena Bay to the Pacific Ocean Jose brought the boat to a crawl there were so many whales.  One breached so close to us the droplets from his water spout landed on us.  This place is incredible!

 

We weren’t out far when we saw the first fish busting the surface.  It was obvious they weren’t yellowfin tuna by their size but we knew whatever they were would be fun nonetheless.  Sammy and I picked up our 9-weights and went into action.  Excellent flies for tuna are tan and white Clouser’s about size 2.

 

Sammy and I connected to the busting fish on our first casts.  They were Pacific bonito (Sarda chiliensis).  These speedsters smoke you even on a 9-weight.  It’s all about survival and every species in the bluewater has evolved fast and strong.

 

Bonito are common throughout the world’s oceans and there are in fact different types of bonito.  Remarkably however, of all the species I’ve caught on fly, none of the bonito are included.  I’ll add the Pacific bonito as yet another to my species list.

 

 

Sammy and I pummeled the bonito for near an hour.  I never get sick of quick action in the bluewater especially handling a new fish.  We probably caught a dozen bonito each.

 

In hopes to find the tuna we headed further out to sea.  It was incredibly calm for being far out in the Pacific.  Unfortunately, we found more and more bonito instead of yellowfin tuna.  So many that I handed my Winston over to Grant.

 

Grant caught a few bonito as well.  Then we avoided the bonito altogether and drove around and trolled tuna teasers, jigged tuna teasers down deep and basically did everything we could to find the yellowfin but to no avail.  Finally, around noon we gave up and headed back inshore.

 

Despite efforts inshore for yellowtail and also a return to the mangroves, the only fish we caught today were bonito.  Plain and simple, the ocean was too calm for the big tuna to be near the surface.  Instead of returning in the boat tomorrow we’ll spend our last three days fishing from shore.  Stay tuned. . . .

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

1 Comment

  1. Janet Holmes a Court

    I so enjoy hearing from you Jeff!

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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!

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