Shortfin Mako or Bonito Shark

Common Name: Shortfin Mako or Bonito Shark

Scientific Name: Isurus oxyrinchus


The body of the shortfin mako (bonito) shark is elongate but rather stout. The snout is long and pointed. The first dorsal and the pectoral fins are large, but the second dorsal and anal fins are very small. This species is a deep blue or dark gray above and white below. There is a black spot at the base of the pectorals.


This shark is found worldwide in warm and temperate seas; in the eastern Pacific from Chile to the Columbia River, Washington, including the Gulf of California, but not in the tropics.

Natural History

The diet of this onito shark includes fishes and squid, often large ones. Whenever possible, the bonito shark takes its food in one gulp. With its tremendous speed, it is unquestionably a dangerous shark. Shortfin mako (bonito) sharks bear live young.

Fishing Information

The shortfin mako (bonito) shark is one of the larger sharks to inhabit California waters. By all accounts, it is as dangerous as any shark, and it probably swims faster than most. The best way to hook a shortfin mako shark is by trolling with a whole tuna, squid or mackerel. You can also use lures, and chumming does help. Watch out, when you catch one, because this is a dangerous fish that will not hesitate to attack you or your boat.

Other Common Names

bonito, mako, mackerel shark, spriglio, paloma, shortfin mako

Largest Recorded

13 feet; 1,000 pounds. 11.5 feet; 1,030 pounds (California). Largest taken by a recreational angler off California; 299 pounds.


Pelagic Environment