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Matching The Hatch For False Albacore

Pound for pound false albacores are one of the hardest fighting fish in nearshore waters. Capable of swimming 40 mph, they can rip off 100 yards of line in 6 second. You get hooked up, look over to tell your buddy, and they're a football field away. You get some line back and they take off again, and again, and again. They're terrible eating but that doesn't stop the annual pilgrimage of anglers to the Crystal Coast, on the southern Outer Banks, of North Carolina every year from mid-October until mid-December for the albie's annual southern migration. They're so popular that President George Bush 41 came to the area for some of the fun several years ago. President's Point is what the locals call an area where 41 was hooked up.

Two occurrences trigger the arrival of these in-water jets: water temperatures in the 50's – 60's and the presence of bait fish. And the bait fish of choice are menhaden, brown anchovies and silversides. Similar to other predator fish, matching the hatch applies for albies too. For the brown anchovies; new penny, midnight oil, and pumpkin are closely matching colors. For glass minnows and silverside; pearl, pearl/blue glimmer and opening night work well. Depending on the size of the bait present, Slim SwimZ to Diezel MinnowZ can be used. Menhaden should include pearl and smoky shad Razor ShadZ.

Z-Man Razor ShadZ Smoky Shad

Z-Man Diezel MinnowZ New Penny 

Z-Man Slim SwimZ Pearl

You want your hooks to be present far back on the bait because you retrieve as fast as possible, and the strike occurs with the albie chasing the bait. Rarely do they strike from the front. Match a jighead with a longer shaft hook to accomplish this can be key to a successful hook-up.

False albacore can be found just outside the surf zone to a few miles nearshore. The easiest ways to locate them is to watch for birds busting the bait in the water or the albies forcing bait upward and striking at the surface.

When spotted you have to cast fast because they might not stay on top long. Also, you might have to make longer casts. In this case extra weight to your line might be required.

Whether you're casting to bait balls or in front of albies on the move, be ready for a quick strike and the sound of a screaming drag. And don't forget to look out for giant bull reds when albie fishing. They've just finished their August and September spawning in the Neuse River and Pamlico Sound and are running these same waters prior to their winter run to deeper waters.

Capt. Bobby Brewer
Baldheaded Bobby Guide Service

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