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Albie Advances…

For the albie addicted, the 2017 season can only be described with superlatives. It was the best season most of us can recall, with the largest number of albies appearing in the greatest variety of places for the longest periods of time. On Cape Cod, we caught albies into November, and we caught them from boats, kayaks, and on foot, as they rushed into shallow salt ponds and deep inside harbors where you’d never expect an albie to appear. Thanks to some combination of environmental conditions, available bait, and sheer number of albies, they were racing along the surf line, cruising the edges of sod banks, and blasting through mooring fields and dock pilings.

soft-plastic lure on weightless swimbait hook

Rigged on a weightless swimbait hook, a soft-plastic lure can be skipped along the surface or twitched slowly through feeding fish.

While the season was extraordinary for many reasons, one thing that was typical was that the albies weren’t always easy to catch. When they arrived, they fed like bluefish, and a tin, swimmer, or topwater plug thrown into breaking fish rarely got refused. As the season progressed, the albies became more difficult to fool with the usual long-casting metals and jigs. They were even frustrating fly-fishermen, whose near-perfect matches of thumbnail-sized bay anchovies and juvenile peanut bunker were often ignored. At times, I found there was only one option that would consistently fool false albacore–a soft-plastic lure.

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