Skip to main content
Home Southwest General Fishing & The Outdoors

5/29 Venice YTs

bigfinn35bigfinn35 Senior MemberSarasota/VenicePosts: 1,149 Officer
Had a rough start to the day with finding my pinfish trap woefully empty and all local bait shops out of shrimp, but after netting some whitebait we headed out to a rockpile off a wreck in 110'. Picked up a decent bonita on topwater on the way out, which I tried eating for the first time and was absolutely blown away by. Low yield per fish with that massive bloodline, but dang, gonna be hard to keep many solely for bait in the future. Bait pods moved deep so we continued out. I was hoping to chum up some nice mangs and jig for some AJs before they closed, but the day had other plans for us. After chumming heavily for about 10 minutes, Dad got a giant blue runner that we used for cutbait and I got a nice bite on the jighead. Thought it might be a small almaco or decent mang at first, but was pleasantly surprised to pull up my biggest yellowtail yet, around 23". Current was swinging us a bit off the spot, so we re-anchored and chummed again. From then on it was game time, had a huge school of 2-3 lb YTs balled up 40 feet behind the boat eating sardine chunks, bonita chunks, and pieces of squid on jigheads from 1/16-1/4 oz (current and wind shifted a few times). AJs of small and giant sizes, plus what I think was a cobia and some cudas, joined the party but wouldn't even look at anything heavier than our snapper rigs. Fought a few bigger AJs on them, but the hook pulled after a long fight every time. Not sure why they seemed so line-shy today, wish I could've had the live bait to chum them up more. 16 of the bigger YTs went in the box, then we moved on to some nearby hard bottom for a bit to look for some grouper. No bites after drifting for about a half hour, so we called it a day and headed for the barn. Best yellowtail bite I've had the pleasure to be on, so definitely can't complain too much about missing out on the original target species.

Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.

Replies

  • cbeck6523cbeck6523 Cape CoralPosts: 9 Deckhand
    Heck of a day! Nice work.
  • larrywittlarrywitt Moderator Cape Coral FlPosts: 2,904 Moderator
    Great report thanks for sharing.  My YT numbers in the 50 to 65 Ft. range have not bee any good at all. Next trips will be deeper. It will interesting to try the new required Fish descender on the grouper shorts.
     Thanks for the report.
    larrywitt
  • DodgerDodger Ft MyersPosts: 310 Deckhand
    How did you prepare the Bonita to eat?  I've always wondered how they can be in the tuna family and be so bad?  Gonna try one next time!  Did you bleed it out when you caught it?  Thanks!
  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Senior Member Sarasota/VenicePosts: 1,149 Officer
    edited June 2021 #5
    Dodger said:
    How did you prepare the Bonita to eat?  I've always wondered how they can be in the tuna family and be so bad?  Gonna try one next time!  Did you bleed it out when you caught it?  Thanks!
    Yup, I've adopted the practice of killing (via an ice pick or very thin knife in the brain) and bleeding just about any fish I'm gonna put in the box (with a ton of ice). Tunas especially have a ton of blood to fuel their high-speed and high-endurance swimming, so once you kill the bonita make a couple of cuts in its gills and make a single stab into its body just behind the pec fin to try and sever major blood vessels. Gonna bleed like crazy for a few minutes, so hold it by its tail in the water (making sure it's dead first obviously) for a while.

    When cleaning them, as with most tuna I like to take off the top and bottom loins since it makes seeing all the bloodline meat easier. You'll definitely see the darker meat on there to trim off. Like I said, the bloodline is so huge that your yield won't be fantastic, but the meat you're left with is delicious. I seared the loins in a ripping hot skillet for about 30 seconds a side (use whatever seasoning you want), then lowered the heat, took out the fish, and cooked some sweet onion rings and shiitake mushrooms with some sesame oil, butter, and mirin to go with it.
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Senior Member Sarasota/VenicePosts: 1,149 Officer
    Thanks all. Yeah I haven't had much luck with anything but mangs and lanes in anything shallower than 80 recently, but to be fair it's been a while since I made a trip focused solely on snapper. You just reminded me that I need to go get my fish descender Larry!
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
  • DodgerDodger Ft MyersPosts: 310 Deckhand
    Thanks bigfinn sounds great the next time I get a Bonita.
  • CaptainBlyCaptainBly Senior Member St. PetersburgPosts: 2,679 Captain
    Larry, I hadn't heard of such a requirement.  Googling says it is required in the atlantic.  I don't see a requirement in the Gulf.  Can you show me a link or something?  Happy to get one if required, just didn't know it was.
    In Loving Memory of James Zielske, January 19, 1957-July 5, 2013
  • BfiBfi Junior Member Posts: 130 Deckhand
    Great report and thank you for posting. Do you mind sharing what you were using for chum? We’re you cutting the white bait or using the sardines or something else? Thank you again 
  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Senior Member Sarasota/VenicePosts: 1,149 Officer
    Bfi, we use a pair of heavy duty bait scissors to chunk up frozen baits into pieces a bit bigger than a thumbnail. This trip we used sardines, blue runner fillets, frozen silversides, and handfuls of frozen glass minnows (can be hard to find but awesome for this). Also had a block of the double ground menhaden chum in the water. Not sure now much they helped with this kind of fishing, but the hard pellets of ground shrimp that some bait shops sell certainly seems to enhance the bottom bite too. 
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
  • FinalRoudFinalRoud SW FloridaPosts: 18 Deckhand
    Way to get it done on the yellowtails!
  • larrywittlarrywitt Moderator Cape Coral FlPosts: 2,904 Moderator
    Larry, I hadn't heard of such a requirement.  Googling says it is required in the atlantic.  I don't see a requirement in the Gulf.  Can you show me a link or something?  Happy to get one if required, just didn't know it was.
    I have been looking for the link also, at this point gotten no where. 
    larrywitt
  • nhkevnhkev Member Posts: 124 Deckhand
    in regards to the bonita.  I have heard they are bait only and one day when I was cutting one up I said to my friend "this looks just like black fin tuna".  I decided next time I was going to keep one and try it.   For starters , they are not bonita.  They are false albacore, aka little tunny.   The bonita are part of the mackeral family the little tunny's are part of the tuna family.   Bleed them right away,  put on ice right away,  cut out the thick obvious blood line.  There will be two sirloin tip sized loins from each side so a good sized one can feed 4 people.  If you coated them in sesame seeds , seared them on each side, chill in fridge and serve with soy sauce and wasabi .  Or just raw.  I would doubt your friends would be able to tell the difference between little tunny and black fin.  The only two things that could be the giveaway is if you sear them without the sesame seeds the meat flakes apart at the edges and the other thing is they are not supposed to hold up freezing or after a day or two in the fridge.  but I would suggest trying one if you like raw tuna
  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Senior Member Sarasota/VenicePosts: 1,149 Officer
    did all of the above with this one! Yeah I was hard pressed to taste any difference between it and any other tuna I've tried. And yeah I know false albacore is the "true" name (such as that is, as I'd say the latin name is the only official one) but I've called em bonita for so long that I doubt I'll change it now.
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
  • CaptJCaptJ Senior Member Key Largo (Mostly)/Miami(As little as possible)Posts: 1,809 Captain
    Try using little chunks of the bloodline with your hook buried in it next time the Yellowtail back off the bait you're using. You might be surprised.
  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Senior Member Sarasota/VenicePosts: 1,149 Officer
    CaptJ said:
    Try using little chunks of the bloodline with your hook buried in it next time the Yellowtail back off the bait you're using. You might be surprised.
    Good idea. Tried using skin-on bonita chunks when the bite slowed, but they never really came back in full force
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
Sign In or Register to comment.
Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

Preview This Month's Issue

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Florida Sportsman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Florida Sportsman stories delivered right to your inbox.

Advertisement

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Florida Sportsman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now