Pro Talk: 12 Tips for Finicky False Albacore
Written by Captain Mike Hogan
If you’ve heard me talk about albie fishing, you’ll certainly hear about the 7-inch amber Original Hogy®, again, again and again. I love that lure for albies. It’s my old standby. It never fails. Well, actually, it almost never fails…
The other day, I was humbled when I was fishing for the first time with owner and founder of Aubut Rods. I was excited to show him the power of the 7-inch amber and bragged about the lure the whole way out of Falmouth inner harbor.
I quickly knew I was in trouble with the albies when I caught one on my very first cast – I’m very superstitious and a fish on the first cast means to me a very tough day of fishing. This was quickly confirmed. Albies were everywhere, but they were very finicky. Fortunately for my ego, a half dozen other boats were dealing with the same situation.
The Challenge: Catching albies that won’t eat!
I was getting some follows and a fish here and there on the 7-inch amber, but not the usual bang up, or anywhere close to the level I bragged about. The water was greasy calm and I was convinced the albies could see everything: my boat, line, hook and anything else that came anywhere near them.
I had one 4.6-inch Hogy sand eel on the boat so I decided to try it but my heavy 8-foot St. Croix Avid was WAY too heavy to throw the itty bitty sand eel. Chris was more than happy to share his rod with me (thank you, Chris). First cast, twitch-twitch pop! I banged an albie. It’s a good thing Chris was there, or I wouldn’t have gotten too far with the sand eel on my 8-foot club!
Tips for generally cranky albies:
- Whenever possible, kill the engine(s) on you boat and wait for them to swim close to you.
- Don’t forget to blind cast. Remember, you are only seeing the ones that are busting. You may find fish that are not keyed in on a particular bait ball and they may be more aggressive.
- In bright conditions, relatively translucent baits will get more attention; they closer resemble bay anchovies and other thin baitfish. Amber is the number one choice, color-wise.
- If casting conditions permit, rig with a fluorocarbon hybrid line. I am 100% convinced highly selective albies can see braid connected to a fluoro leader. Tie directly to your offering – no snaps should ever be used. For greater casting distance, go as low as 8-pound test.
- Start with the 7-inch amber and buzz it in. You’ll know quickly if they are interested or not. Nine times out of ten, this lure is “albie crack” as one pro-staffer puts it.
- Reel with your rod tip as far into the water as you can comfortably reel and crank as fast as you can. This will cause the bait to quiver like a fleeing bait.
- Use the 5/0 weighted Hogy swim-bait hook for extra casting distance.
Tips for Super Cranky Albies
- Sight cast to small schools of fish with the 4.6-inch sand eel. The weighted 1/0 Hogy swim-bait hook will help increase casting distance.
- But first lighten up. The 4.6-inch sand eel is a challenge to cast. Fish it on no more than 8-pound test for casting distance.
- If you decide to go with braid, 8-pound test has amazing casting power, but even braid as thin as sewing thread can spook albies. Use a long fluorocarbon leader, no heavier than 10-pound test.
- Dead drift the sand eel rigged on the 1/0 Hogy un-weighted swim-bait hook. Raise your rod tip high and twitch the bait.
- If no fish are showing or only surfacing periodically, cover ground with blind casting. Put your rod tip in the water and twitch the bait as you reel.
The specs on the rod I fished the other day:
Power, Medium Light
Lure Weight 1/4-5/8 oz
Line Rating, 6-12 LB
Line: 10lb test braid
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