Weekend Warrior: Catch the (migration) wave

It’s an albie weekend. Again. We’re going to get some fly albies. Will they cooperate? Probably not. But I’m going to keep trying and trying and trying again until we get one to eat, because that’s the definition of insanity.

Is this a wise decision—the decision to ignore our striped friends and a possible season-best bite in favor of chasing the most frustrating inshore fish we have in these areas? Is it worth the stress and the agony? That’s a decision you’ll have to make.

For some, getting the albies to eat so far this season has been as easy dragging something shiny in front of their voracious mouths. For others, the amount of unsuccessful shots they’ve experienced is driving them to drink. A lot. (I’m of the latter camp).

As bait continues to pour out of the estuaries and rivers, the fish will get their eat on. What are we going to find when we get out there? Stripers on the march south? We can only hope.

The Report

Albie fishing, as previously mentioned has been ehhh to lights out depending on where and who you ask. If the fish are on the little baby chovies, get ready to have a tough time. If they’re on larger silversides or peanut bunker, you’re golden. Fly guys have been out-producing spin when the bait trends small, but spin guys can still get bites skipping smaller Epoxy jigs and Resin jigs across the surface. 12-15 pound test leaders has been best.

Albies have been sighted from the West End of the Canal, down to the Elizabeths and along all Southside beaches to Monomoy. It’s safe to say they’re everywhere. You just have to find a pod slashing through the larger bait. I’ve found albies tend to corral the larger bait, versus simply slurping up the smaller bait. A reminder: Run and gunning is tough to do successfully, especially with the fly rod. We’ve had all of our luck sitting and waiting for the schools to come to us.

Bonito are still prominent from inside the Canal to Woods Hole. They seem to be mixing in with the Spanish Macs and centrally located around the North Falmouth shoreline. This has been a ridiculous and historic bonito bite. If you haven’t had the chance to target these guys, get out there. They’ve been easier to catch than the albies of late.

I keep making this point and I’ll keep coming back to it. The striper migration is unpredictable. The bass left their northern haunts in the past week or two and seemingly disappeared into thin air. However, there were some good reports of big bass moving around the outer cape. This is a great time of year to get on that night bite. I heard a story of a 54” bass that hit a needlefish plug on a bar right after the storm last weekend. There are big bass out there; you just need to find them.

I love targeting the schoolies around Plymouth and Duxbury Bay, the South Plymouth shoreline, the East End of the Canal, and Sandy Neck this time of year. If you have moving water, you can get blitzes happening all day. And oftentimes, you can find a slug of big bass migrating south underneath the frenzied schoolies. The presence of this much bait really makes anything possible.

This happened two years ago right at the East End. At dawn, we found slurping schoolies. Pretty soon, the big girls moved in—hungry bass up to 20lbs. Then later in the tide, the albies took over. On the way back, we got into the biggest bluefish blitz I’ve ever seen. Miles and miles and 10 to 15-pound bluefish eating mackerel and peanut bunker. It was insanity.

The Plan

Now that I’m writing this, I almost want to focus my efforts on the Cape Cod Bay side. These big bass will move through at some point. You just need to get lucky with your timing. If the albies don’t cooperate on Saturday, we may pivot to stripers around the East End.

Albies tomorrow will be a Buzzards Bay to West Falmouth type of deal. We thought about launching in Falmouth Harbor but reports seem to trend on this side of Woods Hole the past few days.

If I were fishing from shore this weekend, I would be hitting the North-facing bay-side beaches, or the Outer Cape. South and Southwest winds this weekend should give shore anglers good shots at funny fish. Any estuaries, outflow and jetties could be prime spots for albies.

Get out there and catch ‘em up.

Billy Mitchell

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