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Bonito On FlyWhen August rolls around here in Maine it’s a good time to put the six weight down for a while. Forget about dead drifts, light tippet, and constant mending for a few days, grab a nine weight and head for the Atlantic.After two days of walking beaches, driving spot to spot, casting off rocks, and fishing with my wife and friends my favorite summer Striper spots had given up exactly zero fish. To say Maine’s coastal fishing had been strange this year would be a huge understatement.Then I began to recall my trip to Rhode Island last August. Remembering the huge schools of busting Blues, the Striper blow up of a lifetime, and the shifty eyed Bonito that haunted me all winter.With a day and a half of free time I left Portland at 4am on a mission and made it to Rhode Island by late morning. I met Jeremy at the dock with a bag full of red bull and gas station junk food and out of the harbor we went.We ran for hours nonstop without a sign of busting hardtales. We found some willing stripers on the moving tide and got a few to the boat before realizing that a very powerful storm was on the way. The sky went black within minutes, the wind kicked up and we began to see lighting. Jeremy put the hammer down right into the wind and whitecaps and we tried in vain to run for distant sunlight. We motored into the stinging rain trying to reach the shoulder of the storm which grew as we motored west. Then as quickly as it came on it was gone, but so was daylight as we retreated for the harbor with hardtale hopes dwindling.Day two brought a new focus, we were on the water before the sun, with the failure of yesterday forgotten. The seas were smooth, the water was clean, and there were jellyfish by the thousands and we motored along scanning the horizon. “Over there!” Jeremy said, a few terns were cruising low and slow, fluttering nervously over bait as we slowly aproached. Then we saw a boil, then a slash and spraying bait. “That’s them, get ready” Jeremy swung the boat around trying to get a good position ahead of them, then killed the engine. The school got fairly close and I fired a cast, the fish moved left and closer to the boat Jeremey made a cast and hooked up quickly. By the time I got my line ready and made some more casts they had ducked out. “Slippery bastards” Jeremy laughed as he landed the first Bonito of the day.We motored on and saw a couple other pods breaking water, but we were no longer alone now. Two other boats got wind of these fish too, and one of the boats repeatedly motored in on the fish giving themselves and the rest of us no solid shots. It was past noon now and I’d have to be on the road shortly, so we made the call to go look for new fish. Terns were everywhere now but they all seemed to be flying offshore in a hurry. We’d been motoring for an eternity and it was time to refuel. I was just capping things off when we notice some fluttering terns near a distant bouy. Jeremy fired up the motor and we crept in slowly… The pod seemed to run in circles, disapearing and resurfacing in a windless slick. Jeremy got the boat withing 100 yards and killed the motor. We waited…the fish popped again just out of range, then it was silent…we waited. They showed again and were heading right at us now. I fought the urge to cast too soon, as they slashed the the bait our way. Jeremy fired a long cast just started to strip and hooked up. I threw a long cast with no tug, the fish had dropped out, and I made an 80 foot cast to the last swirl, tucked my rod under my arm and stripped a tight steady two hand retreive…”there he is!” I shouted. “Doubled Up!” The Bonito started tearing away as I cleared the line and let the reel sing. The fish made multiple long runs then dogged, as I slowly got my fly line back on the reel. I watched in awe as the blue blur of the fish rising from the depth came into view. As he got close I could see the stripes of my first ever Bonito, and right at last call.