Fishing Report: Albie back

Fri, 09/11/2015 - 7:45am
Category: 

We’re pleased to open up this week’s shore fishing report with confirmed first-hand sightings and hookups to false albacore (aka little tunny) and bonito. These pelagic terminators have made their annual appearance right on time and the Coast Guard Channel is the best place to cast for these drag-burning fighters. Although small in stature, they have Schwarzenegger-strength and are pound for pound one of the best fighting fish in New England.  

Many people get these fish confused with each other since they are very similar in shape and coloration. Here’s the simplest way: Bonito have teeth, false albacore don’t. This is important to remember if you want to keep the catch for the dinner table. Bonito are delicious and albies aren’t (no offense to those who do eat them).

The lure selection to target the “albies” and Atlantic bonito is quite varied. One’s arsenal should include metals, such as the Deadly Dick, Swedish Pimple, Hogy epoxy jig, Kast Masters, Hopkins, and even lightweight diamond jigs. Following up the metals, anglers should have 3- to 4.5-inch soft plastics such as sluggos, finesse fish, and a very popular plastic called the Albie Snax. The final lures for these offshore transients are topwater plugs like poppers and spook-type lures, including the highly effective Rebel Jumping Minnow. Merely casting any of these lures out, and working them on the current, can result in hookups when the fish are there.  

Fly-fishing can be the most effective way to fish from the beach. Matching the hatch — that is, matching the fly with what the fish are eating will get you in the game. A note on etiquette and safety: Do not run up and down the beach chasing these fish when they break water. First, the fish swim faster than an Olympic sprinter runs, and second, running on the beach and not watching one’s step could result in bodily injury, or, worse, breaking the fishing rod! So, chasing false albacore and bonito is ill advised (although great comedy for those watching). Focus on working the water in front of you and be patient — it will pay off. 

There are better shots at these fish from a boat, but, again, patience is the name of the game. These fish are feeding on small baitfish like anchovies, silversides, sand eels, and peanut bunker — particularly when these baitfish get schooled up. This happens most on moving tides and when wind or current form these baits into concentrated balls, making for an easy dinner for the marauding predators.

As for the other species of fish often sought after this time of year, the shore bite for stripers, blues and fluke is slow. Porgies are around, but are now smaller in size and can be caught in the Coast Guard Channel. The best bait for stripers from shore is still whole clams on a hi-lo rig in the wash just outside the breaking waves of the east side sand beaches. From the boat, you’ll find keeper bass out in deeper holes, but it’s spotty at best. This is expected to change in the coming weeks as the southerly migration starts. 

Offshore fishing has seen some night action from the Tails to West Atlantis. Yellowfin and bigeye tuna caught on the night bite chunking bait has been the most effective method. One local boat landed 13 of 18 tuna during what can only be described as “six hours of fantastic chaos.” The thresher and mako shark bite has also been good south of the island and due east of Montauk. And there have been some chicken mahi caught around the buoys past the 100-foot mark. 

The Block Island Lions Club will hold its annual Block Island Inshore Fishing Tourney from Friday, Sept. 11 through Sunday, Sept. 13. Sign up and info is at B.I. Fishworks. Registration is $40 and benefits the National Children's Cancer Society and local youth activities.

Catch 'em up!


Many people get these fish confused with each other since they are very similar shape and coloration. Here’s the simplest way: Bonito have teeth, false albacore don’t. This is important to remember if you want to keep the catch for the dinner table. Bonito are delicious and albies aren’t (no offense to those who do eat them).

The lure selection to target the “albies” and Atlantic bonito is quite varied. One’s arsenal should include metals, such as the Deadly Dick, Swedish Pimple, Hogy epoxy jig, Kast Masters, Hopkins, and even lightweight diamond jigs. Following up the metals, anglers should have 3- to 4.5-inch soft plastics such as sluggos, finesse fish, and a very popular plastic called the Albie Snax. The final lures for these offshore transients are topwater plugs like poppers and spook-type lures, including the highly effective Rebel Jumping Minnow. Merely casting any of these lures out, and working them on the current, can result in hookups when the fish are there.  

Fly fishing can be the most effective way to fish from the beach. Matching the hatch — that is, matching the fly with what the fish are eating will get you in the game. A note on etiquette and safety: Do not run up and down the beach chasing these fish when they break water. First, the fish swim faster than an Olympic sprinter runs, and second, running on the beach and not watching one’s step could result in bodily injury, or, worse, breaking the fishing rod! So, chasing false albacore and bonito is ill-advised (although great comedy for those watching). Focus on working the water in front of you and be patient — it will pay off. 

There are better shots at these fish from a boat, but, again, patience is the name of the game. These fish are feeding on small baitfish like anchovies, silversides, sand eels, and peanut bunker — particularly when these baitfish get schooled up. This happens most on moving tides and when wind or current form these baits into concentrated balls, making for an easy dinner for the marauding predators.

As for the other species of fish often sought after this time of year, the shore bite for stripers, blues and fluke is slow. Porgies are around, but are now smaller in size and can be caught in the Coast Guard Channel. The best bait for stripers from shore is still whole clams on a hi-lo rig in the wash just outside the breaking waves of the east side sand beaches. From the boat, you’ll find keeper bass out in deeper holes but it’s spotty at best. This is expected to change in the coming weeks as the southerly migration starts. 

Offshore fishing has seen some night action from the Tails to West Atlantis. Yellowfin and bigeye tuna caught on the night bite chunking bait has been the most effective method. One local boat landed 13 of 18 tuna during what can only be described as “six hours of fantastic chaos.” The thresher and mako shark bite has also been good south of the Island and due east of Montauk. And there have been some chicken mahi caught around the buoys past the 100 foot mark. 

The Block Island Lions Club will hold it's annual Block Island Inshore Fishing Tourney from Friday, Sept. 11 through Sunday, Sept. 13. Sign up and info is at B.I. Fishworks. Registration is $40 and benefits the National Children's Cancer Society and local youth activities.

Catch 'em up!