Bonito On The Fly – Chico Fernandez

Here is an account of a trip for little tunny or bonito a few months ago with Capt. Dino Torino “Only On A Fly” and my friend Kristen Mustad of Nautilus Reels. I’ve fly fished for bonitos most of my life, it’s a lot of fun. You can chum for them with live bait and watch them crash the bait on the surface all around you, often right against the boat. Or, if you can’t get live bait, you can use dead bait to attract them.
But the techniques vary. If you are using live bait, then use a fly that imitates your live bait, and move the fly to make it look alive. You’ll often see a few bonitos eating the live bait, and then take your fly. It’s pretty exciting.  If you are using dead bait, then use a fly that imitates your dead bait, and let it drift, with no action, among the chum. It is best if the fly not only imitates the dead bait, but it also drifts and sinks approximately at the same rate as the bait.
The day we went out, Dino, who’s done this for many years, had only been chumming with the live bait a few minutes when we saw several hits on the surface, some within casting range. For the next few hours it seems like one of us at least was hooked up. I’m not good at keeping count, but we took a lot of fish. When sharks became a problem, Dino would just move to another location.
I was using a nine weight rod that handled the fish just fine. And Kristen, using an eight weight and fighting the fish deep into the butt of the rod, took only a little bit longer to land them.  I love this kind of fly fishing. It’s fast action and a great change of pace from shallow water sight casting, which I also love.
As always, I like to do it all.