Black Skip-jack, and Bonita are often found feeding together. The bonita have solid stripes running from head to tail above their ventral fins only. The skipjack’s stripes also appear on their back and belly. We get the largest Skipjack in winter when fishing deep for Yellowtail. They tend to hang in schools just above the water column from the Yellowtail and if you’re fishing bait they’ll likely hit it before the yellowtail.
When Skipjack and Bonita feed at the surface, they behave like mini Yellowfin Tuna but their schools resemble the riffling of a stream rather than the splashing of tuna schools. Skip-jack schools will move from place to place. You can get them to take a fly on the cast if you allow your boat to drift and wait for the schools to come to you. If you close your eyes when the school is near you it sounds like a swiftly rushing freshwater stream!
Cast your fly out and use a fast, two-handed retrieve. They’ll hit quickly and proceed to run very hard. Set the hook with the drag of your reel and by palming it and pulling straight back on the rod. They hit and run so fast, that if you set by pulling with your hand, your fingers have a good chance of being sliced.
Bonito are similar to bonita except they have teeth and their white meat is good eating. Bonita have dark oily strong tasting meat.
Bonita and Skipjack are at the surface in warm water temperature months from April through October.
Bonito here in the coolest water temperature months from November through February.