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Watson's Leaping Bonito (Scombridae) Photographs and Information

The Watson's Leaping Bonito is a sub-tropical fish frequents coastal waters of mid to northern east coast of Australia.  More abundant in Queensland where schools swim inshore to feed on small baitfish.

The Watson's Leaping Bonito is a sub-tropical fish frequents coastal waters of mid to northern east coast of Australia.  More abundant in Queensland where schools swim inshore to feed on small baitfish.

It is different from the common Bonito by having a combination of spots and broken bars above the lateral line and continuous longitudinal lines below.  The dorsal fin is black in front and pearly white behind and is decidedly taller than in the bonito.

They are often caught among common Bonito, and may go unobserved until the difference is pointed out.

They are excellent baits for Marlin.

The Leaping Bonito is known to frequent estuaries in search of bait fish populations during the winter months.

watsons leaping bonito

How to distinguish a leaping bonito from mackerel tuna: back is covered with elongated small spots, belly is striped.

leaping bonito, bonito, watson's leaping bonito

Map showing where Watson's Leaping Bonito is found in Australian waters



Scientific Name Family:  Scombridae
Location NSW, QLD
Season Summer
Size 8.5 kg
Australian Species Code 37 441020
Taste, Texture Strong taste, firm texture.


Nutritional Information
For every 100 grams raw product
for Tuna fillet.

Kilojoules 521 (124 calories)
Cholesterol 30 mg
Sodium 37 g
Total fat (oil) 0.5 g
Saturated fat 33% of total fat
Monounsaturated fat 13% of total fat
Polyunsaturated fat 54% of total fat
Omega-3, EPA 14 mg
Omega-3, DHA 100 mg
Omega-6, AA 15 mg

Picture showing the difference between the common bonito (middle) and the Watson's Leaping Bonito (Top and Bottom fish)
This picture shows the difference between common Bonito and Watson's Leaping Bonito.  The Middle fish is the common bonito

Angling & Fishing for Watson's Leaping Bonito:

Bonito are fantastic fun on light gear and two or four-kilo spinning outfits allow these fish to display their full potential when boat fishing. When fishing from the shore or jetty, a heavier spinning outfit will often be necessary for casting distance. In which case a six-kilo spin stick should do the job. I would prefer to fish lures for bonito, but they will take a range of small fish and cut baits. Best Bait: Garfish, Herring, Live minnow, Pilchard, Slimy mackerel (blue), Squid, Yellowtail scad (yakka)


Cooking Watson's Leaping Bonito:

Usually sold whole, though fishmongers will fillet it upon request; also sometimes available as sashimi. In whole fish look for lustrous skin, firm flesh, and a pleasant, fresh sea smell; flesh should be pale reddish (pale pink to white in Leaping Bonito), firm, lustrous and moist without any dull brown markings or oozing water. Always buy sashimi-grade fish if it is to be served raw or rare. Pan-fry, bake, grill, barbecue, smoke, raw (sashimi), pickle.

Commercial Fishing for Watson's Leaping Bonito:

Australian Bonito is fully fished in Australia. It is a relatively fast growing species that supports seasonally significant commercial and recreational catches. Recent research has shown that Australian bonito are fast growing fish which can grow to nearly 40 cm fork length (FL) in one year and the majority of fish in landings are less than 3 years of age. Australian bonito grow to a maximum length of about 80 cm and a weight of 9kg, but the majority of fish in landings are 30 to 60 cm in length and less than 2 kg in weight. Line methods within the Ocean Trap and Line Fishery account for the majority of the catch.


More links about Watson's Leaping Bonito Information

More links to pages with information about Watson's Leaping Bonito and Bonito, Tuna recipes from Sea-Ex and HowToCook, exporters, importers, processors and wholesale suppliers of Bonito from Australian Government Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics Australian Fisheries Statistics.




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