How to Catch Albies

Short for false albacore, "albies" are the trickest northeast inshore fish to catch, but are well worth the effort. Here are a few tips to get started.

On The Water Executive Editor, Kevin Blinkoff, with a kayak albie.

➤ What is an albie?

Short for false albacore, “albies” are the trickest northeast inshore saltwater fish to catch, but are well worth the effort. A pelagic fish, albies have streamlined bodies, and are built to attack prey in short bursts of speed. Although albies resemble tuna fish, they’re more closely related to the mackerel family, and are often misidentified for bonito.

[Submit your albie photos using the Instagram hashtag #OnTheWaterMagazine, or email them to feedback@onthewater.com]

Also called “little tunny,” albies rely on their sight, and feed during the daytime. They primarily eat small baitfish like silversides, peanut bunker, and bay anchovies. Despite their small size, many anglers consider albies to be the hardest fighting inshore fish. Most albies weigh 4 to 12 pounds, but some have been known to grow well over 20-pounds. The world record albie weighed 36-pounds and was caught at Washington Canyon, New Jersey.

➤ When is the best time to fish for albies?

Late summer and early fall are the best times to fish for albies. The first New England albie reports come from the southeast corner of Martha’s Vineyard around mid-August. Within days, the little tunny spread throughout Nantucket Sound, the Vineyard Sound, Cape Cod, and the Elizabeth Islands. By late-August and early September, there are albie catches in Rhode Island, Long Island, Connecticut, and northern New Jersey.

False albacore eat small baitfish like silversides, peanut bunker, and bay anchovies.

➤ Where is a good place to catch false albacore?

Sometimes albies recklessly feed on small baitfish and will eat almost anything.

[Video: Drone video of albies blitzing on bay anchovies]

But more often than not, they’re not feeding on the surface. With that being said, you’re probably wondering, “Where is a good place to catch false albacore?”Albies do not hang out around traditional fishing structures like reefs and bridges. However, they will trap small baitfish in areas with strong current. Think of places like islands, jetties, inlets, lighthouses, and harbor entrances.

Inlets, jetties, points, and coves are good places to find false albacore.
An inlet is a narrow passageway of water that leads to a bay or saltwater pond. A jetty is a long pile of rocks to prevent erosion.

➤ What’s the best boat fishing tackle for albies?

When buying boat fishing tackle for albies, a lightweight setup is a must-have. Try a 7-to-8-foot medium-power spinning rod meant for 8 to 17-pound fishing line, or 10 to 20-pound line. A 3000 sized fishing reel keeps it light and fun. 20-pound braided fishing line with a smooth finish is great for longer casts. Finally, albies have good eyesight, and a 15-pound fluorocarbon leader will reduce the ability of the fish to see the line.

Here are some albie fishing tackle recommendations:

[Related Article: What is a fluorocarbon leader and why should I use it?]

➤ What are the best albie lures?

Picking the best albie lure is overwhelming. Keep it simple and buy two styles of lures. Don’t worry too much about lure color. White, green, and olive are common colors and will catch fish.

Small soft plastics imitate many small baitfish.
Small soft plastic lures imitate many baitfish.

➤ How do I catch albies?

Less is more. Try these two approaches!

    1. Place an accurate cast and reel as fast as possible. The lure will skip on the surface and imitate a small baitfish scrambling to stay alive.
    2. If the fast retrieve doesn’t work, slow it down, and allow the lure to work below the surface. More often than not, albies are feeding below the surface.

➤ How do I catch albies in a kayak?

The best way to catch albies is from a kayak. Not only is it a sporty fight, a kayak won’t spook a school of albies feeding on the surface.

With so many options to choose from, buying a yak can be difficult. We break them down in the Fishing Kayak Buyer’s Guide.

[Article: Kayak Albies]

Kayak fishing for albies is

Albie experts prefer a 7-foot or 8-foot medium-power spinning rod meant for 8 to 17-pound fishing line, or 10 to 20-pound line. The longer rod makes it easy to clear the front of the kayak when albies switch directions. Pair the fishing rod with a lightweight 3000-sized fishing reel, braided fishing line, and a fluorocarbon leader. Scroll up for specific gear recommendations.

[Video: How to Catch Albies and Bonito from a Kayak]

Although most kayaks are extremely safe and stable, always wear a life vest. Moreover, a high pitch marine kayak safety whistle is a must-have for emergency situations. Lastly, buy a safety flag with a built-in LED light so boaters can see you, especially during low light hours.

➤ How do I catch albies from shore?

Shore fishing for albies is tricky. Start by finding legal shoreline access at an inlet, lighthouse or jetties at a public beach. These places naturally have lots of current, and during primetime albie season, they will sporadically pop-up on the surface. Be patient! When the little tunny start feeding on the surface and are within casting distance, take a few extra seconds to place a precise and accurate cast.

[Article: How to Catch Bonito and Albies From Shore]

But more often than not, false albacore aren’t crashing on bait. For that reason, it’s worthwhile to make some blind casts. Blind casting is a general term used when you’re fishing, but not seeing activity on the surface.

On The Water Design Director, Andy Nabreski, with a shore albie.
On The Water Design Director, Andy Nabreski, with a shore albie.

➤ Can I eat albies?

“Yes, you can eat albies,” says On The Water Executive Editor, Kevin Blinkoff. He recommends marinating and searing the little tunny in this simple recipe.

“It wasn’t just edible. It was a delicious meal with some cold sesame noodles and quick-pickled veggies,” says Blinkoff.

Yes, you can eat false albacore, and they're delicious!

Surprisingly, false albacore are not typically harvested for the table, and they have no value in the commercial fishing industry. But that shouldn’t stop you from bringing home an albie for dinner.

➤Related Content

[Article: Ambushing Albies on Structure]

[Video: OTW Shorts – Albie Season]

[Article: Soft Plastic Baits for Finicky False Albacore]

[Video: How to Catch Albies from Shore]

[Article: Albie Tips from the Pros]

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