• Published:September 17, 2018
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Make no mistake about it, false albacore are just as tough as any tuna.

False albacore (Euthynnus alletteratus), also known as "little tunny" or "albies" are the most common member of the scombridae family. Their name alludes to not being a true tuna, as they are more closely related to mackerel, however, they fight just as hard any tuna fish.
This species can be found along the U.S. Atlantic Coast, and is considered a highly migratory fish. False albacore have a big appetite and offer a fantastic pound-for-pound fight. “Albie fever” is a term coined to express the level of addiction false albacore cause and once you experience catching an albie, I have no doubt you will be hooked too.




HOW TO CATCH FALSE ALBACORE

Finding the right location can be a challenge, and even then, having personal space to fish can be tough, groups of false albacore feeding at the surface tend to draw a crowd. Areas worth trying are jetties, estuary outlets, points, or coves that make it easy for baitfish to get trapped., I have noticed that schools of albies tend to make large circles of an area throughout the daytime, and they are constantly on the go.

When the pack gets close, you may only have one or two casts because they move fast. They will most likely come back, so I would not encourage shore fishermen to relocate. It’s important to lead your casts rather than cast into the school, as this may detour their feeding. Your drag should be set tight so that you are barely able to hand-pull line off the reel. This is important, as you want enough tension to allow the fish to run, but not enough that you risk having it spit the hook loose.

You should try to present your lure near or on-top of the water. Since most people use metal jigs, it can be quite easy to exhaust yourself by retrieving at high-speed. Again, it’s not important to retrieve fast, but merely keep your offering near the top or subsurface. Retrieve your jig with the rod pointed down toward the water, with a periodic twitching motion. When you feel an albie strike your jig or lure, a quick hookset and constant tension is important.

False albacore tend to take line, followed by a run in your direction. I would be willing to bet that this species spits out more hooks than most others, and this type of defeat can be painful after all of your invested time and effort!

Unless you are able to pull the false albacore directly onto the shoreline, I recommend using a net to land them. Their mouths are not ideal for “lipping” a fish, and you will likely pull the hook out of its’ mouth trying to lift it. They won’t give up the fight until they are out of the water, so it’s unlikely you will be able to reach into the water and grab it by the tail. Albies are relatively easy to unhook once landed.

GEARING UP

False albacore can be caught both inshore and offshore during daylight hours. A 7 or 8-foot medium-fast rod and reel (preferably with a higher retrieve speed) is ideal, spooled up with  12- to 20-pound braid, direct tied to a 3- to 6-foot fluoro leader of the same strength. While you can drift or float live/dead bait, most prefer using epoxy jigs (flutter jigs) or spoons weighing from one-quarter to three ounces. Hollow-bodied swimmers are also popular, such as the SP Minnow or Hayward Pickle. Be prepared for a big fight on lightweight tackle!

For proper techniques, feeding habits and more, visit ANGLR.

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