The Atlantic Bonito (Sarda sarda) is a species of mackerel-like fish found commonly in the Atlantic Ocean where it is an important commercial and game fish. This fish travels in large schools and is common offshore in the vicinity of New York where it is locally known as “˜skipjack’ because of its habit of jumping from the water. However, the name “˜skipjack’ normally refers to the Skipjack Tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis).
Atlantic Bonito grow up to 30 inches in length and weigh 10 to 12 pounds. It has been recorded up to 18 lbs 4 oz. This fish has a compressed body. It has dark oblique stripes on the back and a jawbone only about half as long as the head. It has no teeth on the roof of its mouth. It is a strong swimmer.
Atlantic bonito eat mackerel, menhaden, alewives, silversides, sand lance, and other fishes, as well as squid. The spawning season is normally in June and specimens 5-6 inches long are taken in September off Long Island. It is often captured by tuna fishermen when trolling for bigger game. Also it is taken in larger numbers in pound nets. Thought by most fishermen to be inferior to tuna as a food fish, possibly because of the greater oiliness. Some of it, nonetheless, is canned. It is commonly cut up and used as bait by fishermen.