For many anglers on the east coast, September means one thing … false albacore. Catching these torpedoes is one of the most exhilarating pursuits the Northeast has to offer. A favorite of fly and light tackle anglers for their ferocious eats and marathon runs into backing, albies spend September crashing through baitballs at speeds over 30mph and wrecking havoc throughout the jetties, inlets and open water of coastal New England. Whether you're an albie amateur looking to hook your first on the fly, or an old pro, we break down the essential gear you'll need to make the most of the fall run.
To tame a fish with that much power requires a reel with a drag to match. That’s why the Cheeky Limitless 425 is the fly reel for false albacore. Measuring 4.25” in diameter and weighing just 7.5oz, the Limitless 425 picks up 13.25" of line per revolution, and boasts the impenetrable GDS drag system to stop the hardest fighting albie. Click here to learn more about the Limitless 425.
The 7.5oz Limitless 425 packs the perfect combination of power and size to halt an albie in its tracks.
Think of false albacore as bonefish on steroids. While both speedsters, albies pack a brute towing strength that is simply unmatched for a fish of its size. We recommend a stiff 9 or 10wt fly rod to make sure you have enough backbone to get an albie in the net. Some anglers will get away with a stiff 8wt, but something with a little more power behind it will give you peace of mind when it unleashes its first run.
More often than not, fly fishing for false albacore requires getting your fly down in the zone, so leave your floating lines at home. I always start with a slow sink intermediate, but it's also smart to bring a fast-sink shooting head just in case you're fishing choppy water or a fast tide.
False albacore are not known to be tippet shy, and their small teeth pose little threat to snapping you off. As a result, anything in the 7.5-9ft and 15-20lbs range will do the job just fine.
Clousers, peanut bunker, sand eels, and surf candy should be your go-to flies for albies. Colors that are more subdued in appearance are usually the best bet - so stick to your olives, grays, whites, and tans to pick up the most strikes.
Natural colors like olive, white and tan are the best bet to trigger false albacore strikes.
Fast to medium-fast retrieves are generally the most effective for producing strikes. Cast out, let it sink for a few seconds, and start stripping! Oh yeah, and hold on tight, an albie crashing through a baitball at 30 mph has been known to yank more than one rod straight out of an unsuspecting angler's mitts.
Are you planning on fishing for false albacore this fall? Let us know how it goes in a comment below.