It may be October, but false albacore are still here on Cape Cod. If we are lucky, then maybe the albies will stick around until Halloween, before they migrate south.
Over the past few years I've caught my share of albies while fishing from my kayak and from boats. So this year I decided to devote more time to fishing for albies from shore.
Catching false albacore from shore on Cape Cod is no easy task! The fish move at lightning speed and often feed way out of casting range. Then, once you finally get a cast into them, there is a good chance the albies will be finicky, and refuse to bite your lure.
This week I am happy to report that I finally had success with catching an albie from the beach. On the morning of Wednesday October 7th I got lucky, and encountered groups of feeding, aggressive albies within casting range.
Gear and Tackle
This fall I have been using long-casting metal lures to help me cut through the wind. Many different metal lures will work, including Deadly Dicks and Katsmasters, but this fall I have been having success by fishing with the Tsunami Forktail Candy metal lure.
For line I have been using 20lb Power Pro braid tied via a Slim Beauty knot to a three foot section of 20lb Seagur Fluorocarbon leader. Wind knots have been an issue for me, so I might try a different brand of braided line such as J-Braid, which I've been told has less issues with wind knots.
This year the team from Tsunami Tackle provided me with a 8'6'' rod paired with a SaltX4000 reel to use when targeting albies from shore. The setup launches light lures, and it has so far been a joy to use.
My First Attempts
Back during September I pumped myself up by reading reports from the 2020 Albie Thread inside our members' forum, and decided to hit the beach.
To help me access different areas I utilized my canal bike, which was built for me by MFCC member James Passek. I think James did an amazing job with the bike and so far I'm very happy with it!
The bike has helped me access areas along the Cape-side of Buzzard's Bay, as well as along the Nantucket Sound shoreline. Certain beaches have no parking, so what I will do is park somewhere far away from the coastline, and then bike-in.
It's very possible to catch albies along a shoreline with little current. However, during my trips this year I have focused on areas which have a strong current. Inlets, channels and rips can be good places to try from shore for albies. Currents congregate baitfish and attracts predators.
I had a lot fun during September exploring new spots. At times I saw plenty of albies (as you'll see in the video below from September 14th) but I only got two or three good chances at them.
Eventually I gave up (just temporarily) and focused on other things. Then this past week I saw reports of good October albie fishing, so I decided to grab my gear and give albie fishing from shore another try.
Wednesday October 7th
This past Wednesday morning I woke up in the dark at 5AM sharp. I got my gear, tackle and camera equipment ready, and drove to a location on Cape Cod which I posted about here. I was making casts by 6:45AM and enjoyed watching the beautiful autumn sunrise.
The tide was incoming and the current in front of me was sweeping water through a tangled mess of boulders and rocks. Landing an albie in such a spot would be challenging, but I figured that would be a nice problem to have.
I made long casts out into the current and retrieved the Tsunami metal at a medium speed, occasionally pausing and allowing the metal to flutter nicely through the water column.
It was not long at all until I started getting action. The bites were coming fast and furious, however it was the wrong species. A school of striped bass in the 18-24 inch range were holding in the current and zipping around the rocks and boulders.
At least I knew the area had fish. Maybe if the stripers were attracted to this spot, then the albies would be too. Sure enough at about 7:30AM I saw the tell-tale explosions of false albacore far offshore. The fish were well out of casting range but I decided to launch a cast anyways.
As luck would have it my metal lure got pummeled by what I thought at first was a striped bass. Seconds later line began screaming from my reel, as I realized I had just hooked up with an albie!
The fish put up an amazing fight, dashing in and amongst the rocks and boulders. I believe the current also added to the fight, providing the false albacore with an extra boost of power as it tried its best to swim against my drag which was set tight enough to apply pressure, but loose enough to not risk tearing the hook through the albie's mouth.
Eventually I got the albie to my feet, however the challenge was not over yet. The albie zipped around in just a couple feet of water, eluding my best attempts at grabbing him. There were sharp rocks all around, but fortunately my line never touched any of them. Finally I was able to reach down and grab the albie by its tail. Success!
I quickly removed the hook and returned the albie to the water as quickly as possible. Due to the shallow water and abundant rocks, I decided to not release the albie "torpedo fashion" as is often done out on boats.
Instead I gently held the albie in the water until he swam away on his own. I assume and hope he recovered from the fight, and that the fish is still out there somewhere off Cape Cod, hunting peanut bunker and other baitfish.
If you are hoping to catch a few more albies before the season is over, then now is the time to go. I really hope the albacore stick around until November, but honestly they could disappear at any moment.
Thank you to all the members who have been contributing to the 2020 Albie Thread. Your posts in the forum helped to inspire me to continue trying for a shore albie. Keep it up!