Week(end) Warrior: Well Al-bie!

Albie fishing, as anyone who has targeted the little torpedoes from hell for any number of seasons knows, will eventually give way to “albie casting.” This is how I felt last week in the flat calm, boat traffic-riddled Upper Buzzards Bay, as the albies casually crashed around us and completely ignored every offering we threw at them. Chase and cast, chase and cast…

Albies made a strong August showing for the second year in a row around the Islands, Southside, and Buzzards Bay. In fact, this year seems to be a mirror image of last year’s funny fish showing so far, save for the missing bonito, who, for whatever reason decided to take up residence in Cape Cod Bay. But that’s a different story. Albies are here and it’s really all I can think about.

So much of a successful albie outing relies on observation. Think before you cast or go motoring into a school. I understand this can be difficult when they start frenzying, but take a few seconds to notice patterns:

  1. What are they feeding on? Are they slurping, porpoising, or slashing?
  2. Which direction is the school moving when they surface? This will tell you where you should be slowly moving the boat and where you need to cast to lead them.
  3. Are they popping up in a set pattern? This one is difficult, especially considering the amount of bait around. Typically, albies will move in a large circular pattern, popping up every few minutes along different bait balls before returning to where they started. This hasn’t exactly been the case this year, so some minimalist running and gunning has been warranted to keep up with the school of fish.

We haven’t seen the ultra-finicky fish we saw last year yet, but the bait is certainly tiny. No one lure has really risen above the rest, the trick is to wait on the bite and catch them during the magic feedbag hour. We’ve gotten most of our eats on white Albie Snax, Pink Hogy Heavy Jigs, and Glow 5/8 Epoxys. Long (8’+) 12lb leaders will certainly help your odds. Grease calm conditions will make the bite close to impossible. As soon as that wind starts howling and the chop kicks up, it’s albie time. Get on it.

Boats have been well-behaved, even when the albies start churning the water like a 10,000 gallon washing machine. When casting to slashing albies, it’s important to cast in front of them. Casting directly over them does two things that we don’t want it to do: allows them to see your braid, and puts the lure behind them. This is the ticket to not getting bit. Cast way ahead of them and let them jet out and crush your lure.

The fish were pretty well set up in Buzzards Bay to start, but have since spread out. Hot spots now include Craigville, Woods Hole, West Falmouth, and Megansett. Spanish macks have been mixed in as well, which make a pretty tasty bycatch. Hopefully the bonito move back through the Canal an we get a run of them like we did last year.

Moving to other subjects

In other non-funny fish news, the FALL RUN in capital letters is very much on. Regardless of time or time of day, you’ll find striper blitzing on micro bait in most places you look. Plymouth has been loaded with topwater action around Browns Bank and through all the inshore flats and channels. Primary bait has been baby silversides and juvenile sea herring, so they can get finicky at times. Albies standbyes like JoeBaggs Resing Jigs, Hogy Heavy Minnows, and Hard Snax have gotten the bites when they get picky. Otherwise, you should be throwing, yeah you guess it, Jumpin’ Minnows and white Albie Snax weightless.

Remember, the Fall Run is fickle. Fish were stacked across the Bay for a week and today they just seemed to disappear. But enduring these volatile swings will be the ticket to finding large bass mixed in with the schoolies. Rumor has it there were multiple slot and overslot stripers caught in the mess of schoolies around Browns Bank in the past few days. Stay vigilant and you’ll find some of the best blitzes of the year around the inshore haunts.

Hey, you know what goes well with albies? A brand new 7S hat! Check ’em out in the shop.

Billy Mitchell

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