Fly Fishing Bluefin Tuna & Bonito Every year my brother and I take a few weeks in August to devote to chasing “hardtails” up and down the Connecticut and Rhode Island shorelines. We spend so much time chasing these fish that we are known better to some fisherman as the “bonito brothers.” This year, like many other years, we booked the second two weeks in August and hoped that the fishing gods would bless us with a good inshore run of both albies and bonito. As luck would have it the fish were in and we had an awesome first week of fishing with as many as twelve bonito boated in a day, most coming on the fly. To add to this excitement we heard a report of a good Bluefin tuna bite just a bit off shore. With little debate we decided that we would rig up to try and do battle with one of these beasts. The next morning after a three o’clock wake up, we trailered our 17 foot key west to Rhode Island to meet Jeremy. After shooting the shit for a couple minutes we threw our gear on board and headed out so that we could catch the first rays of sun on the tuna grounds. After a forty-five minute ride through calm seas we began looking for any sign of life that would indicate hungry tuna. After a few hours of cruising with little more than a shearwater sighted we shut off the engine in a somewhat promising area and began to drift. I worked out some line and began to cast off the bow. Within a few casts my line came tight, and after a short run a nice size bonito came to the boat. The fish was not what we were looking for but it was good to have a bend in a rod, and it seemed like we had found life at sea. We decided to motor uphill to the start of our drift and see if we couldn’t get lucky once again. As we drifted down current we witnessed a small school of tinker mackerel fly out of the water, which is a tell tale sign of fish in the area. I casted again and in a few quick strips my line was ripped from my hands. I gained my composure and cleared my line, then I slammed the hook home as backing started pouring off my reel. The fish then sounded and began the tell-tale tuna circle. My ten weight fly rod was bent in half over the gunnel as I began gaining line. After fifteen minutes I was able to turn the fish’s head and started making real progress. Soon there was a Bluefin circling around the bow and my brother grabbed his tail and quickly pulled him into the boat. My fist every fly caught Bluefin tuna! After a quick picture we released the fish unharmed and went out in search of another. Once again we got on plane and headed towards the sun in search of signs of life. After an hour of cruising with no fish feeding on the surface we decided to change our game plan by rigging up a spinning rod with a top water teaser (with no hooks) to hopefully raise a tuna from the depths. We ran until we reached a promising weedline in blue water where several shearwater birds were sitting on the surface. We launched the teaser, and on the first cast after a couple twitches it was hammerd. At first it looked like several tuna were slashing the teaser but as the fish approached it became evident that we were mistaken. A beautiful marlin was in pursuit of the teaser and our hearts stopped. I have never seen anything like it. The marlin was lit up and looking to eat. Unfortunately I had a small epoxy fly tied on and it went through the water unnoticed. After the marlin we saw a few more small pods of tuna but were unable to get a good shot. We finished the day with some incredible inshore striper fishing. This was without a doubt one of the best days of fishing I have ever had. Hopefully the fall season will continue to be this good and somewhere down the road we will get another shot at that marlin. Only time will tell.