Back in the days when bonito were considered trash fish anglers tended to have a different perspective than today. Good fish was white-fleshed, mild-flavored fish that could be fried. It took ethnic fisherman teaching other anglers different cooking methods, and how to use spices to accompany and compliment the darker, stronger flavored fish, to convince people bonito weren't too bad. In addition, in the '60s they were very common but so were bass and barracuda and other white-fleshed fish. People chose those fish and used bonito for fertilizer (my mom had great rose gardens). In addition, too many anglers were not a conscious on how to keep the fish fresh and simply caught a bonito, left it laying in the sun, put it in a gunnysack or into a plastic bag. Let 'em heat up and bloody, oily fish tend to break down faster. There were a whole lot of things done wrong as well as different perspectives. Most people still have favorite favorite fish for eating and bonito is usually not at the top (compare it to bluefin, yellowfin, and albacore) but it also shouldn't be at the bottom.
A memory — in 1968 I took a 1/2-day trip out from Davey's Locker (Newport Beach) on the Del Mar. The people wanted some good eating fish — bass, rockfish, sculpin (scorpionfish), etc. Everyone was using three-four hook ganions (leaders) and planning to drop them to the bottom. The first stop we made everyone made their drop and almost immediately were hooked up to 3-4 bonito. Tough fights and tangled lines but most people got their bonito (that no one really wanted). We mad a slight move and the same thing was repeated, the line went down 20-30 feet and every hook was grabbed by a bonito. Finally the skipped in disgust said we've got to make a longer move to get away from these "God ... bonito." In those years the bonito were almost too thick at times and much like today when the mackerel are thick, some people just didn't have as much respect for them.