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Kayak Fishing Cape Cod for False Albacore with Alex Ridgway

Kevin Collins

Welcome to another edition of the My Fishing Cape Cod podcast. Today we bring you a new Chronicles podcast about kayak fishing for false albacore on Cape Cod. Our weekly fishing report will return next week.

In this episode we interview Alex Ridgway-MFCC member and passionate kayak angler. This podcast will be a great listen for anyone intersted in false albies, and/or kayak fishing on Cape Cod.


Alex has been a member of MFCC since 2013, and he often fishes with other members from My Fishing Cape Cod.

Alex's fishing passion began as a kid and has continued to grow to this day. Throughout the season he targets all different species of fish here on Cape Cod, as well as in Rhode Island.

In addition to fishing, Alex works as an EMT and he regularly assists people who are in life threatening situations.

You can click play below to listen now, or scroll down to read the transcription of today's chronicles podcast.

Podcast Transcription
(for those who prefer to read)

Click to open transcription

Speaker 1 (00:02):
The My Fishing Cape Cod Chronicles are brought to you by the Goose Hummock Shops, Cape Cod's largest outdoor outfitter. Serving New England since 1946. Shop them online at Welcome to the My Fishing Cape Cod Chronicles. The My Fishing Cape Cod Chronicles podcast profiles impactful members of our fishing community and beyond. Now here's your host, Kevin Collins.

Kevin (00:35):
Well hello and welcome to another edition of the My Fishing Cape Cod Chronicles here on I'm your host Kevin Collins, back with you for episode number 12 of the Chronicle season here in 2020, and we've got a great guest in store for you today on today's program, and it's none other than proud MFCC member Alex Ridgeway who's been part of our My Fishing Cape Cod community for quite a long time. And the topic of today's podcast is something near and dear to Alex's heart, and it's going to be kayak fishing, in particularly kayak fishing for false albacore in the waters surrounding Cape Cod. So that's going to be today's podcast subject, so without further, ado let's dive right in and welcome in our guest. Alex, how are you today?

Alex (01:23):
I'm great Kevin. How are you?

Kevin (01:25):
It's great to have you back on the podcast. We visited a couple of times before. You're a very popular member in the MFCC forum, so thanks for all you do sharing all that great intel in the forum and being such an active participant in our little community.

Alex (01:39):
Absolutely, happy to be here. I learned a lot from the website.

Kevin (01:42):
For the few people that don't know you yet, Alex, I just want to give a little bit of background on who you are, where you grew up and how you got into fishing. Can you enlighten us a little bit?

Alex (01:53):
Absolutely. I grew up in Franklin a little ways away from the Cape, but frequently vacation there throughout the summers. I've done a lot less freshwater fishing around home, and maybe about 10 years ago, [inaudible 00:02:09] to take a branch into seriously saltwater fishing, the website has actually been great for me, when I first started out I learned a ton of stuff that you just can't find anywhere else and tons of great members that really helped me out and got me going on my way.

Kevin (02:28):
So you mentioned the website as a great resource, and that seems to be a common thread with most of our guests in terms of whether it's helping people just kind of begin fishing for the first time, or maybe transition from freshwater to saltwater or vice versa. It seems like a great tool for bringing people together. And now that you're an established member of My Fishing Cape Cod, Alex, I know one of your passions, and what we're going to focus on today, is kayak fishing. And today's specific focus is going to be kayak fishing for false albies in the waters around Cape Cod. And I know that that's a passion of yours. You've caught a ton of fish from the kayak. So can you tell us a little bit about how you got into kayak fishing in the first place?

Alex (03:12):
Yeah, so I started out in freshwater. We used to use canoes and various kayaks to get out to some spots we really couldn't get to, well, maybe around 2010, I was fishing salt ponds on the Cape, mostly in the spring time for schoolies and such. I was surf casting a lot during the summers, but there was some spots that we just couldn't get to from the surf, points in breaks that were just out of casting distance. So I brought the kayak out, to help me get into those spots and was doing really well, gained some confidence with it. At the time I kind of thought I was doing something new and come to find out through some research, a lot of other people are doing the same thing, and it's kind of just kept going from there.

Kevin (04:04):
So before we get into the hardcore logistics of what you're using from the kayak and the different techniques that you use from the kayak, I know Ryan is very passionate about boat safety, whether it's in his larger boat, the Miss Loretta, or the 12 foot 10 boat that he has or his kayak. And I know that you're a guy, as well, that's very much into practicing good solid boat safety, whether you're in the kayak or a larger vessel. Can you talk a little bit about kayak safety and maybe some of your practices when you go out in the spring and the fall, and the water's a little bit chilly?

Alex (04:40):
Oh, absolutely. I mean, safety is always first. I'm constantly watching the weather or the wind forecasts and things of that nature. When the water is colder, like you said, in the spring and the fall, even if the air temps colder, I'm always wearing a two piece dry suit. That's great because I can take the top off throughout the day if it warms up. A life jacket, a PFC, even in the middle of the summer, when it's 90 degrees out, and the water's in the 70s, you just never know what's going to happen or what could happen. Also, I always carry a portable VHF radio. Always make sure that's charged. The range isn't great on them, but the few times that I've had to use it, at least a nearby boater could hear your call, and that's always great.

Kevin (05:30):
So let's get into false albacore. I know that that's a good passion of yours. It's a fish that you like to target from the kayak. Talk a little bit about your favorite lures and baits for trying to fool the false albies in the waters off Cape Cod from the kayak.

Alex (05:46):
Yes, they're absolutely my favorite fish to target. It's just so much fun. The visual feeds are amazing, and it's such an adrenaline rush chasing them down. I would say first, like the rod and such, it's usually like a medium, a medium-light weight rod with a decent reel. It just needs to have a lot of capacity. You're not fishing crazy heavy drag, because you want to let them run. You know, if you try to stop them, you're just going to break something. I'm always using braid. Usually 15 to 30 pound tests tied directly to a fluorocarbon leader with an FG knot. I like to use a lot of leader, probably too much for most people's standards, but around 10 to 15 feet of 12 to 15 pound tests, kind of depending on how picky they're being.

Alex (06:46):
As for lures, definitely, always small stuff. These fish come in to feed on juvenile bait fish. A lot of the time really small, anywhere from, even down to like a quarter inch, up to an inch and a half, two inches. So a lot of the time it's epoxies and resin jigs, kind of my go to is the Joe Baggs resin jigs, the half ounce to three quarter ounce. Olive, pink, silver all work great, depending on what the bait fish they're actually feeding on. Some other things like albie snacks, the white and the pink, work really well some days. You just always want to change it up though. Sometimes they're super keyed in on something, and you just got to change it out. Little [inaudible 00:07:35], little tiny metals, some days that's the key. Changing your leader size down, I even go down to 10 pounds on days when it's super calm out and they're really being finicky.

Kevin (07:48):
So one word you just used right there is finicky. And that's one thing that I've constantly heard from guys that chase false albies around Cape Cod over the past several years. And I know that they can be finicky because they're chasing such small bait, like you just hinted. Do you have any kind of secret tips, and I'm not asking you to give away all your secrets, but is there anything that you could kind of provide folks who may run into these finicky fish in terms of information on how to try to entice them to bite?

Alex (08:18):
Some days you just can't get a bite. It's amazing how well they can see. And like you said, how they key on certain things. Some days it's just incredibly frustrating. You throw in the whole bag of tricks at them, dropping your leader size down, you're changing your retrieves, sometimes skipping them across the surface, sometimes erratic swimming, and you still just can't get a bite. And it's so frustrating, but that's kind of the name of the game. And sometimes that just makes those few bites that you get even better when you got to really work for it all day and end up getting one or two fish, those are just some of the best, you know.

Kevin (09:03):
Another challenge, Alex, that I've noticed is sometimes folks have trouble locating these fish, even when they're in the water around Cape Cod in the late summer and early fall. Do you have any tips for general areas on where you start to look for them, and also do those areas change as the calendar changes? Do you look in a certain spot maybe in late August or into September and then a different spot several weeks later?

Alex (09:31):
Yes and no. I mean, the honest truth, what I tell people a lot, is these fish can be anywhere at any time, from late August through October, really, they can be anywhere. They're pelagic fish that come in shore, and they swim so fast, swimming upwards of 40 miles an hour, so they can cover a vast majority of Buzzards Bay, the South side, they could do that in one day. So they can really be anywhere.

Alex (10:03):
A lot of the times, when I'm looking for new spots, I kind of put Navionics maps and Google Maps side by side. And just kind of look for what you think would be a good area. Usually shallower spots, like five to 15 feet, near some deeper water but not always true. A lot of days estuaries, where some small bait will be dropping out, that's always good areas to look at. But I mean, they can really be anywhere at anytime. So a lot of the times I just drive around, I'll go to various beaches, park in the parking lot, grab my binoculars and just look around, see if there's birds at all working, just kind of finding the life. And there's even some days where I'll do that all day, not see anything and not even launch the kayak. It's kind of the name of the game.

Kevin (11:00):
So you mentioned the visual cues, Alex, that you can look for, whether it's from shore, by binoculars, or out in the kayak, and those visual cues could be bait crashing up on the surface, birds working that bait, to kind of give you some tips as to where the fish may be. Do you ever use GPS or sonar in addition to the Google Maps and the Google Earth that you mentioned before? Or is it just all kind of visual feel for you when you're trying to pick out a spot?

Alex (11:28):
So that's part of the fun is just finding those crashing fish and finding the life. Sonar, I would say, is not really used as much as in things like striped bass and bottom fishing. I would say every once in a rare while, I mark them on the sonar, but I'm really just using that to just watch the depth and kind of have something to look at every once in a while.

Alex (11:55):
GPS, though, I do use, obviously for safety features, a fog comes in or something like that, that can really be a lifesaver, and I'd highly recommend it. But also you can see some patterns. These fish tend to make big circles when they're feeding in an area. Not always true, they could just be swimming in a straight line and you happen to intersect them. But a good amount of the time they're making like big, I don't know, maybe quarter mile circles. And they're just coming through the same area where they've had bait balled up or it's heavy in the mouth of an estuary on the outgoing tide or something like that. And some days you can actually see that on your GPS map. You know, you look down at your trail markers and you hit a bunch of circles or something like that.

Kevin (12:47):
Another thing I wanted to ask you, Alex, is once you do find, say a school of false albacore, and you're out in your kayak, and maybe it's given away by bait on the surface or birds, and you're starting to paddle or peddle, whatever way you choose to get around, up on the school, I know that in a boat, there are certain tactics to, I'll say, not disturbing the feed, right? You don't want to just go 15, 20 miles an hour with your 23 foot boat with 150 horsepower engine and go crash right into the middle of a school, and disrupt the feed, right? So is it kind of similar with the kayak? Do you kind of slowly approach and kind of stay on the outskirts and throw your bait into the middle of it just like you would on a boat or is there a different approach?

Alex (13:31):
Well, that's a huge bonus to the kayak. You can really sneak right into them. Like you said, with boats, with motors, that can really put down the fish, I see it every single season. The fish come up, say a quarter mile away from a boater, and they just hammer down the throttle and go flying right into the middle of them. And they put them right down. And I don't know if the fish feel the motors or hear it or whatever, but they definitely do not like it. So that's a huge advantage to the kayak is I can sneak right in the middle of them. I have a Hobie, so I'm pedaling into them. Sneak right in, you can park, you can basically park in the middle of a blitz, and they don't really seem to care that you're there some days.

Alex (14:16):
But you can also wait for them, like I was saying how they make big circles. So if you're seeing that they're going in a big loop, and you can kind of just stay in the same spot where they have been coming up. And some days it's just a patience, you just got to wait and have them come back to you. A lot of the times I chase them a bit, but really the best thing to do is to just figure out their pattern and hang in that spot and wait for them to come back to you.

Kevin (14:48):
You talked a little bit about the Hobie kayak that you utilize, Alex. Can you talk a little bit more about it and how you rig it up and any tips for kind of creating a healthy, safe, but also efficient kind of workspace on your kayak with the organization of your poles and any other equipment you might have?

Alex (15:09):
Definitely. Through the years, I've kind of fine tuned what I like for a set up. I have a 2019 Hobie Outback. It's a great platform, super, super stable, pretty quick through the water. The Hudson models are a little faster, but I was doing four to five miles per hour going pretty hard. Seems to be enough for me. I have pliers right next to me, fish grips. I keep all my tackle for the most part behind me, and I [inaudible 00:15:44] with my rods back there. Really a great set up for albie fishing, for sure.

Kevin (15:52):
And along the lines of the kayak, you talked about sometimes you will kind of scout the beach out a little bit from shore with binoculars before you decide to launch? Are you generally launching directly on a beach? Are you looking for a boat ramp? How do you get the kayak from your vehicle into the water, you just carry it yourself?

Alex (16:12):
Yeah. So I have, it's called the Hullavator, and it's this nice roof rack system that has springs that assist with the weight of the actual hull when I'm lifting it up and off of my car. So I can do that by myself. It's like a hundred pound kayak, but you kind of learn how to manage it. And then I have beach wheels that I actually put into the scupper holes, and that makes it super easy to roll down across the sand. But, early [inaudible 00:16:44] like I was saying that come in, like end of August, beginning of September gets a little tricky with the beaches prior to Labor Day. This year, I think Labor Day is actually a little later, it was on the seventh. So most beaches don't allow you to launch kayaks during the season when there's lifeguards there and what have you. So we'll stick in a boat ramps, which is nice, cause it's an easier launch. Parking's easy. But after Labor Day, when most beaches go into off season mode, you can pretty much go anywhere, which is really nice.

Kevin (17:27):
All right, this is a tough question here. And I know I'm putting you on the spot, but what's the most memorable experience or maybe the biggest surprise that you've had while fishing for false albacore around Cape Cod off the kayak?

Alex (17:42):
So I had to think about that one, but it was this one day in Buzzard's Bay, a few years ago, there was a older gentleman in a super tiny little rowboat. And it was just me and him. It was a nice feed of albies going on, coming up through this pretty good sized rip. And they were just doing the circle and coming back to the rip every few minutes, and I probably had a half dozen fish landed and looking up at this guy, I was seeing he wasn't hooking up. So made my way over to him, really nice guy, talks for a few minutes. He was using a larger size metal, I can't remember exactly what it was, but it was too big, it was too heavy. He just wasn't getting the bites. So I tossed him an epoxy jig and kind of went back to it.

Alex (18:37):
I looked up at him, maybe five minutes later, and saw he was hooked up, so I made my way back over to him. He was ecstatic. He had never caught an albie. I don't even think he really knew what we were fishing for, but I snapped a picture for him and emailed it off to him, and it was a super rewarding experience to actually see someone get on them for the first time ever.

Kevin (19:04):
Yeah. That's a great story. Thank you so much for sharing that with us, and the stories like that, people helping other people, which is what it's all about and what My Fishing Cape Cod definitely tries to do, help other people the best you can, try to have the most rewarding, successful, and safe fishing experience you can possibly have. So that's a great story, Alex.

Alex (19:28):
Yeah, absolutely. Definitely. Some days that's better than getting the bite yourself, you know?

Kevin (19:31):
So along those lines, and along the lines of helping other people, including the members that may be listening to this podcast today, Alex, what would you say to them? You know, folks that maybe haven't given false albacore fishing a try, maybe they're strictly striper fishermen and stick to stripers and blues, or maybe they're tuna guys who go way out offshore. What would you say to a guy that maybe just wanted to start his albacore fishing career and didn't really know where to begin. Do you have any kind of tips on what you would tell that person?

Alex (20:05):
I would say, just get out there. I mean, it's some of the most exciting fishing, in my opinion, that inshore Cape Cod has to offer. They're just little tuna. It's such a blast. They make incredible run. They're super, super fast, and it's so exciting watching the feeds on the surface. I would try to make as many friends as you can. Get out there, start talking to people, even on the beach or boat ramp or whatever, just talk to people. And you make some friends and you can ask more questions and kind of figure out a whole different fishery.

Kevin (20:42):
Along the same lines, do you have any tips for folks that, may not have a kayak yet, but that may be interested in kayak fishing? Where would you start if you were looking to pick up a kayak and get it rigged up to get out on the water and target some of these great fish off Cape Cod?

Alex (20:57):
It's kind of like everything else really. Like I would start small. Don't go crazy. My kayak's like over $4,000 with everything on it. You don't need that. You can go to Walmart or whatever and get a couple hundred dollar kayak and get your feet wet sort of way, start small. There's so many salt ponds and bays, small estuaries that you can really start to figure things out. There's a lot to it, tides and following the wind and figuring all that out. [inaudible 00:21:34] start small, work your way up. Like I said, like reach out to people, whether on social media or on the website, to the forum, just talk to people, pick their brains and figure out what you want to do with it and how you can safely do that.

Kevin (21:51):
Well, Alex, I want to thank you for all the time that you shared with us today and all the expertise you shared with us today. I know folks may be interested in reaching out for any tips or pointers or just to kind of pick your brain or maybe even share some intel of their own. I know you're very active in the forum, and I know that you're also pretty active on Instagram. It's AR Ridgeway, is that correct on Instagram?

Alex (22:13):
Yep. That's it. Yeah, that's great. I mean, definitely anybody that wants to reach out and ask me some questions, pick my brain. I'm definitely always game to help people get out and fish.

Kevin (22:25):
Well, thanks for being such a great member of My Fishing Cape Cod, Alex, and thanks for being our guest on today's episode of the Chronicles. I really enjoyed our chat, and hopefully we'll be able to catch up with you again soon.

Alex (22:36):
Yeah, definitely. I enjoyed it too. Thanks Kevin.

Kevin (22:39):
Well, a big thanks to today's guest, Alex Ridgeway, a proud MFCC member, for joining us on today's edition of the My Fishing Cape Cod Chronicles. Was great to talk all things albie fishing from the kayak with Alex. And he's also just a great fishermen in general, whether he's going for albies, stripers, blues, sea bass, tautog. You name it, you can pretty much fish anything from the kayak in the waters surrounding Cape Cod. And Alex is a go-to resource for anybody looking to experiment, or maybe try to buy their own kayak to fish from here on Cape Cod.

Kevin (23:14):
So I encourage all of you listening, if you have any interest in fishing from the kayak, please reach out to Alex via the forum. And as I mentioned, he's also on Instagram as well at AR Ridgeway on Instagram, and you can message him there as well. So that's going to put the wraps on episode number 12 of the My Fishing Cape Cod Chronicles. Was great visiting with Alex, and it was great visiting with you. Thank you so much for supporting the podcast and listening to some of our great guests we've had so far this spring and summer. This is your host, Kevin Collins, signing off. And until we chat again, tight lines and take care.

Speaker 1 (23:53):
Thanks for listening to the My Fishing Cape Cod Chronicles podcast. From all of us here at My Fishing Cape Cod, tight lines and take care.

Speaker 4 (24:03):
For the latest information on how to fish the Cape, be sure to check out Become a member today and receive your first month for just $1. Join us as a My Fishing Cape Cod member.

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