Are Bonito edible? The Bonito is in the Tuna family and is not commonly eaten in Florida due to its size and dark meat. You can identify the Bonito called False Albacore or Little Tunny by its spots on the belly (not visible in this picture but there), and they do not have stripes but a wavey blue and silver pattern on their tops. This Bonito is similar to the Atlantic Bonito in structure and is often misidentified. The Atlantic Bonito is from the Mackerel family and is not palatable whereas the Little Tunny Bonito is excellent for eating because it’s from the Tuna family. The bloody red meat of this Bonito must bleed out in ice water for hours, and the thick bloodline removed before cooking it like any other Tuna.
Bonito feed on herrings, menhaden, hake, mackerels, anchovies, shrimp, and squid. Bonito is a favorite bait for Billfish, Kingfish, and Sharks used by tournament anglers who go out the day before the big day and catch Bonito offshore for live bait during their tourney.
Atlantic bonito grow up to 75 centimeters (30 in) and weigh 5 to 6 kilograms (11 to 13 lb) at this size. The world record, 18 pounds 4 ounces (8.3 kg), was caught in the Azores.
Of the thousands of fish species found in Florida waters, the vast majority have no specific regulations at all. These unregulated species include some prevalent sports fish that are commonly caught by recreational anglers such as white grunt, gulf kingfish (whiting), gaff top sail catfish, ladyfish, cero mackerel, blackfin tuna, bonito, great barracuda, gulf kingfish, pinfish and jack crevalle. The list also includes thousands of other species that are less frequently targeted but sometimes caught incidentally including spadefish, American eels, silver perch, croakers, hardhead catfish and many others. The term unregulated can be misleading because standard recreational gear requirements still apply, and there is a default bag limit established by Florida Statute for any species harvested by a recreational angler. Harvesting amounts that exceed the default recreational bag limit (defined as commercial quantities) and commercial sale of all unregulated species would require a saltwater products license. Florida Bonito Regulations
Florida Record: 27 lbs.