A summer shot in calm waters.

A summer shot in calm waters.

About The Captain

Captain Sal Tardella has always been serious about fishing. He’s been a fishing guide for two decades, but his passion for fishing began when he was just four years old, using a fishing pole he’d made out of a tree branch rigged up with some string tied to a safety pin twisted into the shape of a hook to hold an earth worm for bait. He and his older brother started out fishing in Westchester ponds close to their childhood home in Yonkers NY. As he grew older he ventured out into local reservoirs and lakes, and in his teens he first experienced the excitement of hooking fish in Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.

After many years of experimenting with all kinds of gear Captain Sal determined that the most satisfying and sportsmanlike way to catch inshore fish is with lightweight rods and reels, minimal terminal tackle and 10-pound test line, allowing his passengers to better enjoy the thrill of fighting a fish of any size. Of course, when targeting lunkers (very large bluefish and striped bass) he ratchets up the heft of the hardware somewhat—but never utilizes more than a 25-pound test line. He’s a proponent of catch-and-release, suggesting that his clients keep only what they need for the dinner table.

My Bonnie leaving Village Creek for a day of fishing on the Long Island Sound in July

My Bonnie leaving Village Creek for a day of fishing on the Long Island Sound in July.

The boat named ̏My Bonnie” has undergone many incarnations. The current model is a 25-foot C-Hawk Sports fisherman with an enclosed pilot house and port-a-john. Its deck is 9.6-feet wide, with plenty of room fore and aft and all around the pilot house, allowing anglers to cast within a range of 360 degrees. “My Bonnie” is powered by a 2009 Yamaha 250HP 4-stroke engine, and state-of-the-art electronics, including Lowrance Radar, Lowrance Broadband HDS12 Sonar with Sideband Scanner/Fishfinder/GPS, and an Icom 304 VHF Radio.

During the winter months the captain fishes in Sebastian, Florida, using a 22-foot Hydra-Sports bay boat, targeting sea trout, pompano, redfish, jack crevalles—and all species populating the Indian River and Sebastian Inlet.


Nice redfish caught in Sebastian Inlet on a March afternoon.

My Bonnie Charters is family-friendly, and the captain and his mates are especially sensitive to the needs of young anglers–patiently coaching novices and encouraging them to persevere when the action is a bit slow between catches.

Captain Tardella and his wife, Bonnie, have authored many fishing articles which have appeared in print and on the Internet; several of them are available now on this web site. The captain is featured in Gone Fishin’: The 75 Best Waters in Connecticut, and My Bonnie Charters was highlighted in a Saltwater Sportsman article written by George Poveromo, based upon the filming of an autumn bluefish expedition on Long Island Sound.