Alex Peru grew up in Fairfield, Connecticut, making and fishing his own wooden plugs. When designing his plugs, casting distance was always at the forefront of his mind, because what good is a lure if it can’t reach the fish? Then, when soft-plastic baits became all the rage in the early 2000s, Alex started to pour his own.
“With soft plastics, the casting distance was something, right off the bat, that struck me as a downside,” said Peru. “They have great action, but you couldn’t get them out there, especially if you wanted to fish them near the surface.”
He started experimenting with his own molds and created 9- to 11-inch soft plastics that weighed roughly 1.5 ounces and were intended for striped bass. However, his passion is fishing for false albacore, so he created a smaller soft plastic intended for albies. Rather than making a bait with a flat top like the popular Slug-Go, he chose to make cylindrical bait. This allowed him to put more plastic into his “Albie Snax,” despite it being more difficult to manufacture because of the necessity of a two-piece mold.
“It’s a great casting lure because of its weight and aerodynamic shape, but it isn’t just a distance-oriented lure. I wanted to come up with a design that would have a whole lot of darting action in the water. Soft plastics naturally have a flex to them. If you can have that overall change of direction—the left-to-right “walk the dog” or darting pattern—combined with the flex or quivering of the bait, then you have something that really resembles a fleeing bait,” said Peru.
Albie Snax are intended to mimic a variety of baitfish, including squid, sand eels, anchovies, and silversides. They’re 5 inches in length, weigh ½ ounce, and come in a package of six. They are available in four colors: white, pink, amber and olive. Despite the name, Albie Snax are versatile lures and can be used for bonito, stripers, bluefish, cod and largemouth bass.
“You can erratically retrieve Albie Snax at a variety of speeds on the surface, unlike Deadly Dicks, Kastmasters and bucktails, which sink fast and need to be reeled quickly to keep them on the surface.
“One thing I really like to communicate to the guys I’m fishing with is that you have to be willing to mix it up,” said Peru. “The same thing isn’t going to work every day. On my first cast, I’ll retrieve it pretty fast with my rod tip to the water, trying to create commotion by skipping and darting it with lots of rod tip action. I think the fish really like that, but if it isn’t working or if you’re in a small pod of fish and want to stay in the pod of fish, slow your retrieve down. Having absolutely no action or dead-sticking it can be deadly too. And, don’t be afraid to blind-cast if you don’t see fish feeding on the surface,” advised Peru. Trolling also works well, especially with frequent pops of the rod to give the lure some action.
Contrary to when a striper strikes and misses a soft plastic, then the angler twitches and pauses or completely stops the retrieve, Peru discovered albies will continue to chase the bait and smash it if the soft plastic is reeled at a quicker speed after a missed strike.
When it comes to color, Peru recommends trying them all. But if forced to choose, he leans toward amber and white because he often fishes areas with squid and anchovies so likes to “match the hatch.”
Peru prefers to fish his baits on the surface with an Albie Snax 3/0 un-weighted swimbait hook, but it can also be fished with a jighead or Texas-rigged with a bullet weight.
Albie Snax cast well into the wind; therefore, they’re effective from boats as well as shore. “If I’m fishing from a boat and have the benefit of working the wind, it’s always good to be upwind of the fish. Not only will it move the boat toward the fish, but you won’t be casting into the wind as you’re moving away from the albies,” said Peru. “If you’re casting from shore, keep the cast low and it will shoot out like a dart.”
In terms of tackle, Peru prefers to use a 7-foot 6-inch medium-weight rod rated to throw ¼- to 1-ounce lures to fish from a boat. If he’s fishing from shore he favors a 9-foot rod. Both rods are matched to 4000-size reels with 20-pound-test braid and 15-pound fluorocarbon leaders. “Make the leader as long as you can get away with,” recommends Peru. “Stripers will swallow the bait and sometimes cause abrasion on it. For albies, though, the fluorocarbon leader is more important for landing the fish and in case it becomes tail-wrapped.
“The Albie Snax is intended for false albacore, but I want people to know it is a versatile lure that can be used for a variety of species throughout the entire year,” says Peru. “Expect some larger baits in the future. Albie Snax are just the beginning.”