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Are Bonito Fish Good To Eat?

The waters of our planet are filled with all kinds of fish and species. Some families and species we know all about, while others aren’t as common to come across.

When it comes to Bonito, many people speculate and wonder whether it’s safe to eat or not. It doesn’t taste like any other type so that’s something you should remember right of the bat.

Are bonito good to eat? Why not. You may find the taste rather unusual, but the fish itself is entirely safe to consume as a meal.

What is Bonito Fish?

This fish belongs to the Scombridae family that includes others such as tuna and mackerel. They live only in salt water and aren’t the most common species to find on your dining table. Bonito has unique taste and texture that’s unlike any other species.

What Are The Various Types of Bonito Fish?

These are the only kind in Scombridae family, so there aren’t any other known classes of it. However, unless you have some experience, you might confuse Bonito for Tuna. The industry usually categorizes them by age.

Old – the meat of an old one is firm and dark. In most cases, the fat content is moderate.
Young – these are smaller, and their meat is fairly light and pink. They don’t have as much fat as the old ones.
Regional – these are known by the region they live in such as Australian and Atlantic.

You might be able to tell them apart as you gain more experience. The general rule of thumb is that smaller is also younger, so they don’t have as much fat, and their meat is tender.


This is a unique kind that has distinctive features though some may confuse it with tuna. Here’s how to tell Bonito apart from other similar kinds:

  • They are ray-fined. This means they have rays at the tips of fins that they use to defend themselves and scare potential predators.
  • They have an attitude. It’s not as easy to catch and will give you a fight.
  • The general shape is oval, much like a football. This helps them swim with ease.
  • Bonito are predators and eat small species such as sardines.
  • They are also great at swimming far distance.
  • They travel in large schools and are social. You can mostly find them close to the shore.

Methods For Catching

There are several methods to choose from based on your preference. You can pick between the trolling method, line fishing, and rod for this type.


This is best if you want to catch lots of Bonito fish at the same time. Use a long net to pull it across the ocean floor and collect the entire schools of it.

Line Fishing

Use a line to lay it in water and wait for the fish to get caught. The best is if you use a line of four to eight pounds.

Fishing Rod

Though this is the most basic method, it requires the most practice and experience. Your rod should be strong and sturdy while still flexible and able to bend enough when fighting with your catch.

Other Tips

It’s important you use live or frozen bait when trying to catch Bonita. The best live baits to use are sardines and pilchards, but you can also use chum. Experiment as you go to see which is the best bait for the ones in your area.

Leave the bait to float on the surface and bottom of the water to attract Bonito.

How To Cook Bonito Fish

There’s nothing complicated about this as there are several cooking methods to choose from. All are easy to do so it mostly depends on your preference. Here’s what you can do:

Grilling – clean it and remove all skin and gut. Cut it into slices and season it with salt, oregano, garlic allowing it to marinate for at least an hour. Heat your grill and cook the fish for an hour before serving it hot.

Baking – clean and cut it in large sizes. Sprinkle some lemon juice and olive oil and season it with salt and pepper. Oil the baking pan and preheat your oven to about 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake it for about ten minutes.

Frying – just fry it as you would any other but remember to remove gut and skin before seasoning it to your taste.

Final Thoughts

Bonito is not your everyday fish, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it now and then. It’s delicious though some may be oilier than others. Plus, if you don’t like to eat it, you can always use it as bait.

But are they good to eat?

Yes, they are safe to eat, but their taste might not be to everyone’s preference. This Ray-finned predatory fish is not the most popular, but it’s certainly exciting and unique. If you come across some, make sure to prepare it using one of the methods above.