It’s officially that time of year. The air is getting cooler, the mobs of tourists are dispersing, and the False Albacore are in thick. If you’ve targeted these speed demons before, you know they need no introduction but for those who aren’t infected with Albie Fever, let me give you the rundown. So, picture the classic fly fishing scene. You probably see someone standing out in the middle of a shallow river, gracefully casting a small dry fly to a delicately rising trout; pretty peaceful, right? Well, for better or worse Albie fishing is just about the polar opposite. Now picture screeching birds, running outboards, crisp wind, and angry, bloodthirsty torpedoes launching themselves out of the water. You definitely don’t have to picture this scene long to get a taste of what the Fever feels like. Not only are False Albacore the living representation of adrenaline, but they are also incredibly smart. It isn’t uncommon to work all day to get a couple of nice shots right into a school of busting Albies, only to bring your fly through the fishy massacre completely untouched. Whether it’s your choice of fly, speed of presentation, or stealthiness of approach, Albies can and will get the best of you. In this article, I’ll go over my 5 favorite flies for False Albacore so you can go out with a little more confidence and maybe even put one of these amazing creatures to hand next time you get out.
The Albie Wh*re is currently my personal favorite Albie fly. I tend to gravitate so small, white flies for our friendly neighborhood speed demons, and the Albie Wh*re fits that profile perfectly. This is kind of a “do it all fly” for many Albie situations. It has had an incredibly versatile profile that imitates anything from silversides to peanut bunker. I love the all-white color in most situations because it can pass as many different kinds of baitfish, and it’s plenty bright so it stands out in the carnage of an Albie blitz. I will also sometimes use a tan and white color when the fish are incredibly picky. At least in my area, the ridiculously picky fish are often feeding on tiny bait, and one of the most common tiny baitfish are tan and white bay anchovies. The tan and white Albie Wh*re “Matches the Hatch” perfectly, and often gets the job done when nothing else will.
This fly is probably the least known on this list but is responsible for the most albies in my boat over the past few years. The DC-12 is a great “do-it-all” Albie fly. Like the Albie Wh*re, it imitates a wide range of bait species and is incredibly durable. Having a versatile, bombproof fly (i.e. every fly on this list) is really all you can ask for in an Albie fly, so when you do come across one make sure to stock up.
A Surf Candy needs no introduction when it comes to the New England saltwater flies debate. It is a classic in every sense of the term, and it’s essential in any saltwater fly box. The surf candy best imitates sand eels and silversides, so while it might not be as versatile as some other flies on this list, It will still get the job done a lot of the time. When Albies patrol open sandy beaches, they are often feeding on sand eels, so a Surf Candy is a great option.
It’s hard to find a fly that looks more like a small baitfish than a Gummy minnow. This innovative fly uses a soft, flexible plastic material to form an incredibly lifelike profile. The Gummy Minnow best imitates peanut bunker and silversides, so it is an immediate go-to for many Albie guys. My favorite part about this fly is its durability. The plastic that makes up the fly is really tough and super stretchy, so you can count on it to last all day. (Just hope Bluefish don’t show up)
When it comes to Albies, classic patterns like the Clouser Minnow are often overlooked. It is pretty easy to go over the top with uber-realistic action, perfect lifelike baitfish shimmering, and incredibly specific profiles; but most of the time a simple bucktail Clouser will get the job done. They may not be as durable as these other flies that are heavy with epoxy and synthetic fibers, but the Clouser always has and always will produce.
At the end of the day, the main key to Albie fishing is confidence. All these flies will catch fish, so the best advice I could give would be to pick out one or two that you really like, and stick with those choices most days on the water. If you can really build up your confidence in a pattern or two, you will find it way easier to strike Albie gold. When you fish with confidence, you’ll find better shots, your casts will be nicer, and you will be in control of the moment, which we all know is key no matter what species you are targeting.