By: Steve George / Nightstrikes Surfcasting Guide Svc. LLC
When I say “Running” after False Albacore I am not lying. These fish are fast and you have to be faster!
No matter what way you fish during the fall when chasing Albie’s whether it’s by boat, off the beach, or around and on the rocks of the inlets you need to be able to move on the instant. As a surf fishermen you also need a lot of luck to time it perfectly. It’s more about being prepared ahead of time so you are ready for the bite and battle.
It’s October and it is finally feeling like fall with crisp cool predawn hours with smoke on the water. The local rivers, bays, inlets draining into ocean with them still being warm with plenty of baitfish swirling on the surface.
During civil twilight I can see the sparkling of bait down low as I crossed over the last bridge onto LBI. Making the long walk through the dunes I think back about previous encounters with False Albacore. After hooking up for the first time you are hooked for life. It’s so true you come down with a case of “Albie Fever”
I finally reach the water’s edge and immediately see a huge surface explosion then another and another. It’s on! But out of casting range. Maybe they move closer to shore. With the wind at my back I fire my lure as far as I can cast into the unknown. Within about 10 seconds of whipping my presentation across the surface as fast as I can… Slam-O!
The initial take is great and when the drag starts singing. But my favorite part is when they reach the shallow waters of the beach. They spaz out and make another one or two ripping pulls in every direction imaginable. Finally you win the battle and get a chance to look at those vibrant colors and mackerel patterns. They are beautiful under the sun and always a fish to remember. Their release is interesting with no turning back. They shoot out to sea like a rocket.
For Sure A Bucket List Fish!
I didn’t have to be fast on this day but it sure was important to be smart and ready. When hitting the water, knowing the “when” and “where” is very important. BUT! Actually being ready for success starts off with the right equipment.
Choosing The Right Rod & Reel For Albies
When it comes to targeting these speedsters from the surf a well balance light action rod in the 8-9’ range. Matched that up with compact, light, high speed spinning reel (4000 sizes) spooled with quality thin braided line (20-30#). This style outfit makes for a great weapon for land based anglers to effectively fish for albies.
A light action rod that has enough length and a whip allows for long casts with a small lure. A great affordable option is the Tsunami Trophy II Series, TSTIISS862DM. This rod is 8’6″, rated 1/2 to 1-1/2oz and has a special “distance moderate” action which is designed to easily load and launch small lures.
Albies are fast and feed fast! To burn a lure back in super fast (sometimes non-stop) a high speed reel is best. Try to look for a reel with a gear ratio of 6:1 or faster. The Penn Battle III Series is a great choice in either the standard (BTLIII4000, 6.2:1) or the high speed version (BTLIII4000HS, 7:1).
For braided lines… Cortland Master Braid, Power Pro (Original or Super Slick) and Spiderwire Invisi-Braid are all great choices! Be sure to tie up the terminal end with fluorocarbon to keep things stealthy.
Top Lures For Albies
Slick looking spearing or bay anchovy baitfish presentations are key!
Small metal lures and epoxy jigs make for realistic small bait imitations. Anything from small chrome metals (Deadly Dick Lures) to holographic foils of Tsunami’s New Forktail Candy Lures offer a lifelike profile while offering the utmost casting distance. However these lure sink fast.
When the winds are light and conditions call for a lure that matches the hatch, casts great but doesn’t sink like a stone… turn to Epoxy Jigs! These jigs come in a variety of sizes and just about any color in the rainbow.
A few other essentials that are needed to track down your prey are a good pair of sunglasses and small binoculars. The ability to see any surface action and/or baitfish close or out in the distance is paramount
Dress for the weather and stay comfortable. That might mean going in the surf with sandals, a SPF Shirt and Shorts or it could be putting on boots or waders when cool and you don’t want to get wet. If fishing any rocks, jetties or inlets one of the most important pieces of equipment is a good pair of studded cleated boot or sandals with Carbide Spikes. KORKERS! Gotta stay safe!
It’s best to stay light, especially on warm days. You might need to hustle and run after a blitz.
Well, Got To RUN, I See Albies Breaking…