Among the many many classes Captain Casey Allen has realized from years of albie fishing, primary is to all the time have the fly line in your palms, able to react. Picture by Capt. Casey Allen

Issues occur quick in albie fishing.

However, in some way, it’s the alternative of a blur. Like video captured in frames per second, after I performed it again in my thoughts, each break up second stands out like a nonetheless picture. Within the 2.4 seconds it takes to hook and lose an albie on a fly rod, a sequence of instants are recorded in my thoughts.
In fact, it helped that I had a GoPro digital camera mounted over my shoulder that was really capturing 60 frames per second to strengthen my reminiscence after I performed it again. The sudden, audible slashes ripping into the floor 15 yards off the bow of my kayak; the rushed however enough solid that plunked a white Clouser Minnow simply forward of a splash; the primary strip that changed into a strip-strike; and the best way the coils of fly line got here to life like a panicked snake, throwing a loop round my left kayak pedal that tightened into an instantaneous chokehold.


It was a heartbreaking second, nevertheless it was additionally progress because it was the primary time I’d satisfied an albie to eat a fly. I’d taken my fly rod albie fishing in earlier seasons, however I’d by no means been critical about placing down my spinning rod and selecting it up. This was the primary 12 months I had made it my mission; I’d sworn over the winter fly-tying desk that it was my one aim for the upcoming season.

Albie spitting baitfish
Albies can change into targeted on consuming one explicit measurement and species of baitfish. Fly anglers have the benefit with regards to carefully matching their prey. Picture by Joey Manansala

The primary lesson I realized was that if I needed to catch an albie on a fly rod, I needed to depart the spinning rod at house. Too many occasions I’d missed good alternatives as a result of I couldn’t resist selecting up the spinning outfit for the additional attain and confidence it gave me.

The second lesson was that hooking an albie was just one a part of the problem. Clearing the road and getting the fish onto the reel was the subsequent step.

The following time I hooked an albie on a fly rod, I used to be in a position to skip the half the place I froze in awe and as an alternative instantly made certain to information the fly line out of the kayak with out snagging it on the pedals. It helped that the fish hit coming towards me and continued in that route so the road snaked out by the guides at a managed tempo because the fish pulled towards the resistance of the arc of fly line ripping by the water. I lifted the rod above my head and pointed it again at a 45-degree angle to the water because the albie streaked behind my proper shoulder and the road got here tight on the reel, anticipating the candy sound of my drag screaming.

What I didn’t understand is that the fly line had thrown a loop again across the exterior of the reel. The power of the albie swimming at full pace abruptly coming tight jerked my hand again and sprained my proper thumb so badly that I ultimately wanted to see a bodily therapist.


One other lesson realized.

broken fly rod
Lesson realized. Once you’ve lastly completed your aim of hooking an albie on a fly rod, don’t high-stick it subsequent to the kayak.

The third time I hooked an albie on the fly was a type of mornings when every part was clicking. The wind was gentle, the late-summer air was crisp and dry, and the sky was simply beginning to present orange as I pedaled throughout open water towards the inlet. I already had a small quantity of line stripped and ready at my ft after I noticed the primary splash forward of me and quickened my tempo, then glided to a cease and waited to see if the fish popped up once more. One other slash, one other enough solid with a white Clouser, and a simultaneous strike as a fish met the landing of the fly with an open mouth and immediately hooked itself.

This time, the road cleared, got here tight, and the drag sang. For the subsequent jiffy, I alternately reeled like a madman because the fish ran towards me and had my knuckles rapped by the reel deal with because the fish streaked away. I had an is-this-really-happening/kid-on-a-rollercoaster grin on my face the entire time. Once I noticed the chief, I used to be already picturing the photograph I’d take, the textual content to my coworkers, and the Instagram put up (and the fireplace emojis it could garner). All I wanted to do was land it.

Touchdown any fish from a kayak on an extended, whippy fly rod is a problem. Touchdown a frantic false albacore while you’re too excited to do not forget that fly rods aren’t meant to bend right into a horseshoe form?


One other lesson realized: Don’t high-stick an albie subsequent to the kayak.

Nonetheless, that lesson is perhaps tougher to bear in mind as a result of it didn’t have the identical repercussion as the primary two. Sure, I paid the value of an Orvis Clearwater flyrod, however I obtained my fish, my pictures, and my candy emoji suggestions.

I’m decided to seek out extra success this season as I make my manner alongside the albie-on-the-fly studying curve. However, quite than let the fish train me all the teachings by trial and error, I made a decision to achieve out to a few professionals and allow them to share some experience.

I checked in with two fishermen and common On The Water columnists who’ve years of expertise catching albies and different “humorous fish” on flies, Captain Casey Allen of New Bedford, Massachusetts, and Captain Dave Peros of Cape Cod.

Albie Setup

For albie fishing, I take advantage of the identical 9-foot, 9-weight Orvis Clearwater rod I take advantage of as my all-around striper-fishing setup. It’s lined with Rio Coastal Quickshooter XP, an aggressive-taper, full intermediate line. Ought to I’ve an albie-specific setup?

“With the smaller albies we see inshore, a nine-weight is okay,” stated Peros. “What’s most essential is that it has some lifting energy within the butt part to complete the battle when an albie is spiraling subsequent to the boat.”

dripping albie
Apply your casting, then observe some extra, advises Captain Dave Peros. Picture by Sergio Diaz

Allen agreed with the significance of lowering battle time, and that’s one purpose he primarily fishes with a 10-weight when chasing albies. The opposite purpose is for the additional casting energy in windy circumstances, that are the norm within the Northeast within the fall.
Allen additionally fishes the Coastal Quickshooter XP by Rio, although he often makes use of a full-sink line when weeds on the floor current a persistent fouling situation.

Peros stated that lots of his purchasers want a full-sink line for ease of casting—it hundreds quick, requiring fewer false casts, and tends to end in a straight-line connection when the fly lands on the water. Nonetheless, he likes to argue in favor of a floating line when fishing for blitzing false albacore as a result of it permits an angler to simply decide a fly up and put it again in a distinct place with out having to strip it to the boat. For fast-moving fish like false albacore, that is typically one of the simplest ways to place a presentation in entrance of them.

“I’m all the time asking my anglers to select it up and put it again, decide it up and put it again. A floating line permits them to re-present the fly to the fish.”

In relation to leaders, Allen makes his personal, normally becoming a member of a 3-foot butt part of 40-pound mono to a 4-foot part of 20-pound mono for the tippet. If circumstances are calm and vivid, he makes use of 2 ft of 20-pound and a 3-foot part of 15-pound fluorocarbon after the butt part.

Peros additionally really helpful tying your individual leaders and emphasised the significance of a stiff butt part, not less than 40-pound check, for a smoother taper off the fly line and simpler turnover of the fly.

False Albacore Flies

I’ve fished with small white Clousers when focusing on albies as a result of I can tie them myself and I like that they instantly sink under the floor movie after they splash down.

Allen ties lots of of albie flies and sells them by his Instagram web page (@captaincasey09). His favourite sample for albies within the Northeast is the Albie Whore, a sample developed by Wealthy Reagan of Lengthy Island.

Albie Whore
Captain Allen’s go-to fly for albies is the Albie Whore, a hot-glue-and-feather fly that makes a sturdy and life like baitfish. Picture by Capt. Casey Allen

“I started ‘tying’ this fly a number of years in the past after discovering success with one a pal gave me,” stated Allen. “I put tying in quotes as a result of the fly is constructed greater than tied. Utilizing sizzling glue, supplies are welded collectively for a sturdy, life like baitfish imitation. I tie them in a wide range of sizes, however my favourite is just below 2.5 inches and is particularly efficient when albies are targeted on tiny bay anchovies, peanut bunker, or silversides.”

Allen additionally retains Surf Candies, Clouser Minnows, and Bonito Bunnies available. Providing a fly related in measurement to the bait is commonly the important thing to success, so he carries a spread of sizes. Coloration can be essential, so he ties patterns in white, chartreuse, pink, and pure colour schemes.

Peros really helpful plenty of patterns together with the Bonito Bunny, Bonito Bandit, Albie Whore, Mushmouth, Boylermaker Albie Fly, Mikkelson’s Skeeter, Crease Fly, and Gummy Minnow.

“There are many good fly patterns on the market, however for me the important thing to efficient funny-fish fly-rodding is nice, clear casting, line management, and fly presentation,” stated Peros.

We’ll get to that subsequent.

Tommy Dzis holding albie
The most effective albie and bonito fly anglers are in a position to stay calm and picked up when the fish pop up—a ability that comes solely with expertise. Picture by Brian Weiss


The most important profit I’ve discovered from kayak fishing for albies is that I can get very near the fish, negating the necessity for lengthy, correct casts. Typically, it’s a brief flip or roll of the road to get a fly into fish quite than a full solid. From a ship, that’s not normally the case.
That doesn’t imply distance casting is important. In accordance with Peros, an angler is best served engaged on accuracy at distances of fifty to 60 ft with minimal false casting and making a solid that will get the fly transferring instantly after it hits the water.

“The most important mistake I see from my purchasers is that they’re in an excessive amount of of a rush,” stated Peros. “They get excited, rush their casts, make too many false casts, and after they finally drop the road, it doesn’t land straight.

It’s comprehensible. Albies will blow your thoughts and seeing them on the floor could make you lose your cool. I’ve really advised purchasers to cease casting, sit down, take a breath, and chill out. All I would like is one good solid, and I’d quite get that one solid than ten awful ones.

“Apply, observe, after which observe your casting some extra. Similar to the very best tarpon fly-rodders, who appear so nonchalant and seem to have nerves of metal, the very best albie and bonito fly anglers obtained that manner due to expertise and trial and error.”


Based mostly on years of burning epoxy jigs alongside the floor on spinning gear, my inclination is to get the fly transferring and transferring quick. Nonetheless, one of many causes fly fishing is efficient is that there are extra retrieve choices than simply “quick.” It’s a sizzling subject amongst albie fishermen, and like many different points of fishing, everybody has their most well-liked strategies.

“To me, one of the vital essential issues is all the time having the fly line in my palms, which is completed with a hand-over-hand approach,” stated Allen. “When utilizing a single-hand retrieve, you have to let go of the fly line on the finish of each strip, which leaves you unable to set the hook correctly ought to a fish hit throughout that transient second. With a hand-over-hand retrieve, you’re able to ship a stable strip-set always, and you’ll decide up line if a fish takes the fly and swims at you.”

Though most individuals affiliate the hand-over-hand retrieve with pace, Allen makes use of it whether or not he’s burning the fly again to the boat, inching it alongside, or dead-drifting it.

“Whether or not blind-casting or sending the fly right into a raging floor feed, retrieve pace is one thing that always requires experimenting. A quick retrieve is often efficient, however generally a slower retrieve studded with lengthy pauses does the job; different occasions, a useless drift seals the deal. General, my most constant approach when casting to feeding fish is to steadily retrieve the fly for a number of ft, then abruptly cease and let the fly sink.”

Line Administration

“Probably the most essential points of efficiently touchdown a false albacore on the fly is line administration, particularly after a fish is hooked and the road begins capturing by your fingers,” stated Allen.

That was one lesson I’d already realized the exhausting manner.

“If there’s an object the road might doubtlessly get tangled on, you’ll be able to virtually make sure it would,” stated Allen. “If a cleat can’t be prevented, protecting it with a moist towel is an efficient trick.”

Peros additionally spoke on the significance of line administration and stated that it begins with the solid.

stripping basket
In accordance with Captain Dave Peros, a stripping basket, just like the collapsible lawn-and-leaf barrel he prefers, is a vital piece of kit. Picture by Andy Nabreski

“Don’t make a hero solid and let go of the fly line when casting,” stated Peros. “Kind an ‘O’ together with your line thumb and forefinger when casting, permitting the road to circulate freely. This provides you a chance to direct it from the rod butt, reel deal with, or different line-grabber and places you ready to strip line instantly.”

Peros additionally referred to as a stripping bucket a vital piece of kit when fly fishing from a ship.

“And I’m not speaking about a type of plastic ones that shore of us use. I take advantage of a big, collapsible lawn-and-leaf bucket, full with a fly-line administration mat on the underside to weigh it down.”

Sadly, a 30-gallon garden barrel isn’t sensible on a kayak. I’ve some concepts that I would attempt (and that may work), together with a customized ground mat, a mini foam stripping basket, and a lap blanket. I’ve even thought-about {that a} pair of drop-crotch joggers would kind a sort of between-the-knees line receptacle, however they continue to be in my Amazon procuring cart for now. I’m totally ready for an additional season of studying by trial and error, however I’d welcome recommendation from any angler who’s been there. Electronic mail me at kevin@onthewater.com.


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