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BONITO & KINGFISH

Posted By Toby Lapinski, June 10, 2019
BONITO & KINGFISH
The first bonito of the season award goes to Nantucket angler Paul Anderson as he plugged this little guy off a Nantucket beach last week!
File this one under, “I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t see the picture” as the season’s first bonito was caught late last week as Paul Anderson landed one on a popper while fishing off a northwest beach of Nantucket. Let’s hope that this bodes well for an early run of summer speedsters!
And in keeping with the warm-water trend, every summer I receive at least one (usually more) “what is this?” fish ID request from local Fisherman subscribers as an unidentifiable fish took their small bait intended for porgies or fluke. While there have been a few that stumped me and required additional help, nine times out of ten the fish in question is the Menticirrhus saxatilis, or northern kingfish. The first confirmed reports of such fish locally came down the pipeline this week as a few were caught by porgy anglers in the Milford, CT area. While these members of the drum family can reach a length of almost 20 inches, most common local catches are closer to 12 inches. The kingfish can be identified by its chin barbel, dark black or brown vertical stripes over a silvery/grey body and high dorsal fin—to me they kind of look like a saltwater catfish of sorts. Kingfish are extremely common in the surf to the south of us, but they have become more common in Long Island sound and on up to Martha’s Vineyard in recent years. They make both excellent table fare (so I’m told) as well as top-notch striper and bluefish baits. Currently there is no size or bag limits on these fish in local waters as far as I can verify, but be sure to check your local regulations if you intend on harvesting a few for bait or a meal.
 
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