Albie Strategies- Hard & Soft
By: Captain John Curry
Hey it’s that time of year again! The end of the summer is near, but the beginning of the False Albacore run is upon us and I love it. Nothing gets my clients more fired up than the long drag screaming runs of Albies on light tackle, fun stuff.
Let’s take a look at some strategies that may help you smile for the camera with a wiggling Albie a little more this season. There is a basic formula to targeting any species and it’s based on four premises. They are; When- Where-How-What. So let’s break it down in that sequence.
Well for most of us we know it’s around the 3rd week of August that we begin to see consistent numbers of False Albacore in our Cape Cod waters. Of course our neighbors to the south in Rhode Island will have a run sooner than we will and I always look for those reports before to get a jump on the run. Yesterday was August 9th and while guiding in Nantucket Sound for Blues we encountered a small pod of Albie’s, or where they Atlantic Bonito, hard to tell they were up and down quick. Anyways, the main timing for our run is the last week in August and the first half of September. The main indicator is two factors, bait and water temp. Right now we have 70-71 degree water temps in Vineyard and Nantucket Sound’s with slightly higher temps in Buzzards Bay. False Albacore like 72-78 degree water temps. Keep that in mind and monitor those on Rutgers.edu/seasurfacetemps. The second indicator is of course bait. They aren’t here to enjoy our beaches, they are here to feed and fatten up before they turn right and head back down to the Carolinas and Florida for the winter. Right now we have bait and plenty of it! Peanut Bunker, Silver Sides and Bay Anchovies are everywhere on the south side.
Pretty obvious that I’m talking in general terms Buzzards Bay, Nantucket and Vineyard Sounds in regards to locations. However, we need to think of our approach in more specifics if we want to get more hook ups. Sure some days it’s as easy as drop the boat in and fire up the motor and look for birds. Grab a chart of the area you plan to fish and a tide report. Look for contour lines with rips and channel bars where bait will be flushed as the tide moves and plan to fish those areas instead of just heading out with a pair of old binoculars. For ou
r south side Cape waters the rule of thumb most years is the fish will start to really heat up around Craigville Beach then as the run progresses and the days get colder end around Cuttyhunk Island.
Light tackle that’s how. This isn’t a troller’s game. Put away the umbrella rigs and head down to Falmouth Bait & Tackle and have Christian and the guys set you up with a light tackle spinning outfit. I use a 7’ medium-fast action Star
rod paired with a 3000 series Shimano reel and 15 pound Power Pro braid main line. On the business end use 20 fluorocarbon leader of at least 6’ long. Long casts are the name of the game and you need a high speed reel. Trust me you will cast as long as you can on one side of the boat only to have fish pop up 10 yards away on the other side. A Biologist I once ran into at a bar on the Outer Banks told me that False Albacore swim so fast that they can only see a lure that’s at least 20’ in front of them. This means when you see fish cast way in front of the direction you think they are going and reel like hell.
What do you throw at these “funny fish” that one day will smash whatever is on your line and the next day ignore you like a buddy who owes you money? This get’s us to the subtitle of this article. I like to use two main types of baits, soft plastics and metal or “epoxy” type jigs and surface baits like poppers. In my experience False Albacore will take soft plastic baits like the 6” Hogy in white, pink and green in the early stages of the run. I feel like they are keyed in on Peanut Bunker and the softer baits mimic them more. A new bait on the scene this year is the Hurley Lure Co. “Mini Squidder”. It’s about 4” long and can weigh up to an ounce with a built in hook , should be a killer bait. The 3” Skid Stik by Fishin Magician is also a solid choice in the early to mid part of the run. As the run nears its middle to end stages and the water starts to cool you cannot go wrong with the Hogy Lure Co. Epoxy Jigs. The olive and pink colors are usually what’s on my leader and they cast a mile. Load up on these great local lure companies and you will be very pleased with the results.
Hope you have a great Albie season!
Capt. John Curry