Running With Albies

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.

Albies feed fast on small bait making feeds exhilarating to watch. Alway try to lead when casting in order to get the lure in front of the moving fish’s face rather than behind ’em.

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!

This False Albacore could not resist a slender silver metal lure made by Deadly Dick. These lures are one of the best lures for targeting albies.

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.

By the most popular and best seller is the Original Hogy Epoxy Jig. Another great choice is Fat Cow’s Epoxy Jig.

The Hogy Epoxy Jig is a very VERY fishy lure. They perfectly match a spearing or bay anchovy. They cast great. They hold up to lots of abuse from fish. Best of all they are not crazy expensive.

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…

Here’s Steve hooked up to a nice fish off of the surf!
NightStrikes Surfcasting Guide Service LLC

Author: NightStrikes Surfcasting Guide Service LLC

My Name is Steve George (a.k.a.Nightstrikes) and even though I cut my teeth growing up along the banks of the Schuylkill River and Wissahickon Creek in Pennsylvania fishing as a child I quickly realized my real passion for fishing when I moved to New Jersey. The saltwater got into my veins very quickly and even today after over 40 years of fishing the Surf, Back Bays & Inlets of NJ the passion is still there stronger than ever. I’ve had a very important mentor back then just starting out and I have always vowed to give back to the sport that was given to me from him and others over the years. My journey really got interesting the last 20yrs or so as I started writing/reporting along with helping others during the infant age of the internet and the birth of the fishing websites/message boards like the BassBarn and StripersOnline to name a couple making many great friends over this time and lead me to become a member and officer of the Berkeley Striper Club – Seaside Park NJ. Currently I have been writing a monthly column for On-The-Water Magazine called “From the Surf” for the last three fishing seasons and it has been a great experience sharing my adventures and providing some tips and techniques to my fellow fishermen. It’s time to take to the next level of giving back as I would like to offer a variety of guided surfcasting fishing trips and private lessons to surfcasters of all ages and skill levels during the entire fishing season. Trips will be customized to every aspect of surf fishing that I do starting in April and continuing into December. Day and Night Trips will be offered from Sandy Hook NJ to Cape May NJ. Early spring trips will target resident Striped Bass and the arrival of Big Bluefish invading our waters. These trips will include safe handling Catch & Release practices and tagging these young Striped Bass for research. Come May will mean searching and catching maybe the fish of a lifetime as we will hunt Big Post Spawn Striped Bass migrating up the coastline fishing with some of today’s most sought after custom fishing lures that these Big Bass can’t resist during their journey. If you don’t have the tackle and equipment to handle and land these fish it will be provided for you. Once summer rolls around its time to fish for Summer Flounder/Fluke along the beaches daily during the open season. Again if you don’t have the tackle and equipment to catch keeper fluke I will have you covered including my favorite baits and rigs along with access to the best locations I have found over the years. And finally “The Fall Run” which is a special time that starts off looking for False Albacore in September and then looking for the migration of Striped Bass and Bluefish Blitzing our beaches shortly after during October and November into December. Again what I really want to do here is to make you a better surfcaster going forward by teaching the techniques, how to read the water, understanding the tides and moon phases and strategies that you can use year after year. I hope you come along with me on this next journey of my life and maybe someday you can pass on what you have learned to the next generation of fishermen with a passion for Surfcasting the Jersey Shore. Contact me via Email _ nightstrikes@comcast.net to book your dates for the 2020 Fishing Season or Call 609-276-6983 Thank You, Steve George

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