False Albacore vs Bonito – A Fisherman’s Guide

If you love spending time offshore, then you’ve probably encountered both false albacore and bonito. These two fish are often confused with each other because of their similarities in appearance. But there are actually some key differences between false albacore and bonito that you should know about before you go fishing for either one. In this article, we’ll break down false albacore vs bonito: key differences, so you can tell them apart next time you’re out on the water.

False Albacore: A brief overview

False Albacore (Euthynnus Alletteratus), also known as Little Tunny, Albies, Bonita, and Fat Alberts, are members of the Scombridae family, which is found in the Euthynnus genus, and are located in the middle of the tuna and mackerel food chain. False Albacore are found in the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Oceans. Albies are very finicky when it comes to fishermen and may be tough to get a fly in front of, leading to the fixation known as “Albie Fever.” 

Once a fisherman has contracted “the Fever,” it is difficult to cure and can only be cured by increasing one’s exposure to Albie fish. Albies, which are essentially “party-sized” tuna, provide fly fishermen with a taste of bluewater fishing without having to go far. In terms of strength, Albies are one of the most difficult fighting species to come across, and they are capable of hauling most fish their size across the Atlantic.

Bonito: A brief overview

The Atlantic Bonito (Sarda sarda) is a fish that is often misidentified. Despite the fact that Bonito are classified as belonging to the same family as Albies, the primary image that Google uses to represent bonito is unquestionably that of a False Albacore. In this article we compare False Albacore vs Bonito to provide a clear distinction between to two fish.

Bonito, not Bonita, are also members of the Scombridae family, although they belong to the Sarda genus rather than the Scombridae family. In comparison to Albies, bones are a little smaller and give up a little sooner, which makes them an excellent 7- to 8-pound fish. A school of Bonito slicing at a huge baitball is a sight that will undoubtedly get your adrenaline pumping.

False Albacore vs Bonito: Key Differences

False AlbacoreBonito 
FamilyTuna Mackerel 
Colorsilver body with a greenbacksilver body with a blue or greenback
Size30-4825-30 inches
Weight20 lbs13 lbs
Lifespan6-9 years5 years

False Albacore vs Bonito in detail


False albacore are in the tuna family, while bonito are in the mackerel family. Both are fast-swimming, pelagic fish that hunt in open water, but they are not closely related. Bonito are smaller and have a more streamlined body than false albacore. They are also more abundant and widespread, while false albacore are considered a rare catch.

False Albacore are also known as little tunny. They are a type of tuna that is found in the Atlantic Ocean. They are known for their high-quality meat, which is why they are often used in sushi.


False Albacore has a brilliant silver body with a greenback, which makes them stand out. They have a distinctive, black squiggly pattern down their back that distinguishes them from any other fish. While in the water, they seem like they are missiles, with their pectoral fins protruding from their sides and functioning as stabilizers. Despite the fact that they are not really tuna, every aspect of them shouts tuna. Albies are also, on average, larger than Bonito in size.

Compared to albies, they are usually smaller and have a considerably thinner build. The bodies are silver with a blue or greenback, and the legs are blue. Bones have black stripes around their flanks, which are reminiscent of Striped Bass stripes. In keeping with the Mackerel motif, Bonito features a dorsal fin that is practically rectangular when compared to Albies, as well as visible teeth.


False Albacore has been known to live for up to 6-9 years. The oldest recorded False Albacore was 9 years old. False Albacore are a fast-growing species and can reach a maximum size of over 3 feet and a weight of over 15 pounds. Bonito have been known to live for up to 5 years. They are hardy fish that can withstand a variety of conditions. 

Are bonito and Bonita the same fish? 

Bonito and Bonita are both common names for different species of fish. Bonito typically refers to members of the genus Sarda, while Bonita typically refers to members of the genus Katsuwonus.

How to catch False Albacore?

A fish traveling at breakneck speed across the sea of food would strike any fly placed within striking distance, right? False Albacore proves this assumption incorrect emphatically. Getting a fly in front of a False Albacore is one of the most difficult things to do when you are pursuing this species. Because the fish are swimming so quickly, they are also typically spooked, making them vulnerable to being taken down by boats. 

The best way to ensure that you have a crack at them is to forecast where the school will be relocating next. It is far more likely that you will get a better shot if you can position yourself in front of an incoming school of Alberts. 

When you finally have your chance, make your way inside the school and to the front of the group, where you will begin stripping. Some prefer it as quickly as humanly possible, while others want to take their time. You’ll have to experiment to find out what they enjoy best for them. Make sure that your line is not tangled and that it is not caught on anything, and you should be doing alright there.

How to catch Bonito?

Everything that has been discussed thus far about fly fishing for Albies also applies to Bonito, however, there are a few things that should be mentioned as additional information. They are a little slower moving than Albies, however, this is dependent on the environment. 

Because bones have teeth, I suggest that you inspect your tippet every opportunity you get and that you use flies made of synthetic materials to ensure their long-term longevity. Aside from that, as previously said, I prefer a 7 or 8wt rod for Bonito rather than an 8-10wt rod for Albacore tuna.

Conditions to Catch Bonito and False Albacore from Shore:

It is imperative that you fish first light and throughout the morning every opportunity you get if you are serious about catching your first beach hardtail. At this time of day, these fish are feeding in large numbers and are more likely to be caught if you are lucky. 

After feeding heavily from dawn until around 10 a.m., albies often undergo a mid-day slowdown from 10 AM to 1 PM, followed by a second feeding session anywhere between 1 PM and 5 p.m., depending on the time of the year and the location of the albies’ nest. 

Those who work shifts that restrict them from fishing at early light can benefit from this afternoon bite. It is always worth trying, even if it is not as tasty as the morning bite. If it’s your only chance, it’s worth trying.

Fortunately, the best circumstances for capturing these fish are quite similar to those that are favorable for catching stripers. It is reasonable to get thrilled about a moderate chop combined with a forceful shoreward wind, which in most instances is a southwesterly direction, with some exceptions. 

With a sea level of 1 to 3 feet in height and a wind speed of 10 to 15 knots, the bait will be hugging the jetties of the bases and being driven into the surf line along with rugged cliff faces. Eventually, the albies will follow suit, and you will be prepared to intercept them.

It’s worth remembering that days with somewhat harsher circumstances than this may be quite spectacular. Often, lock-and-load fishing may be accomplished in 2- to 4-foot waves with winds of 15 to 20 mph. Hardtails often abandon their persnickety reputation and strike lures with a ferocity that equals that of bluefish in these circumstances. These nastier days provide plenty of opportunities for the spin angler to catch a number of albies in a short period. 

However, if these circumstances develop or continue for more than two or three days, the fishing will be shut down since the heavy surf would undoubtedly churn up the bottom, forcing the keen-eyed albies to seek out more pristine hunting areas in search of a new home. As has been said so far, hardtails’ behavior is dictated by their environment, and their behavior will affect your technique and lure selection.


False albacore and bonito are both common in the North Atlantic Ocean and may be found all over the world. From Nova Scotia to South America, and all the way across the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and Africa, both of these species may be found together. 

Fisherman’s delight, but sometimes a dangerous one, is hardtail fishing from the shore. You could get 3 fish for 10 hours one day and 10 fish for 3 hours the following day, and so on and so on.

The information is already in your possession; all that remains is for you to have the will to go after it!

Despite the fact that these fish are both widely dispersed, the northeast coast of the United States seems to be a hotspot for fishermen seeking to catch these species.

Hope this article helped you.

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