Capt. Bob Paccia - the lower Cape's premier light tackle and fly fishing guide

False Albacore Arrive In Buzzards Bay

September 9, 2014 by  


Marc Feldman's first albacre on a fly.

Marc Feldman’s first albacore on a fly.

At last, false albacore have returned to our Buzzards Bay waters. Pods are showing up in the Cape Cod Canal giving shore-bound anglers a shot at hooking up to one of these legendary speedsters. The recent windy conditions have made it difficult for both anglers and birds to spot these fish-pods, but careful and patient observation will serve you well. This is true for both shore-bound anglers and boaters as well.

BOATERS BEWARE…”Running and Gunning” “Ain’t The Way To Go!” You won’t get as many hook-ups, you’ll waste a lot of gas, you’ll scare the fish putting them down, and most importantly, you’ll piss-off every other boater in the area. In years past there have been many, many verbal and even physical assaults during our bonito and false albacore seasons. Don’t be “One Of Those Guys”!

THE BEST WAY,  for boaters to fish for “funny fish” is to observe how the pods are working the bait. Watch where they start their attack up-current, and how far they go down-current. Keep in mind, that they usually repeat the same routes over and over. Once you have established their pattern, it is simple to do the following: Go well up-current of where the albacore first started their attack, cut the engine (if you can do so safely). Wait for them to show up again and start your drift, with them. REMEMBER, stay well away from other boats who are still doing their drift.

Fly fishing tackle, I recommend using a 7.5 to 9′, 10 lb to 12 lb, Fluorocarbon, knotless tapered leader. Remember, these speedsters have super vision and are very leader shy. Attach your fly with a loop-style knot such as a well lubricated (with spit) Non-slip mono loop knot.

Flies- Again, because false albacore have such great eyesight, you’ll have to match the hatch. Size, color and profile which are all important. If you have a small dip net available you can simply scoop up some of the regurgitated bait and inspect them to see what the albacore are feeding on.

Stripping Basket- I highly recommend using a stripping basket to keep fly line and backing off the water or off the boat deck, as the name of the game is “LINE MANAGEMENT”. Having an albacore ripping off a hundred yards of line and then having him turn to come at you at the same speed is no time to have a bunch of line all around you…

Strip- I like using a two handed stripping technique, that is, putting the rod under your casting arm and  stripping the fly line as follows: your right hand pulls the line back about 18 to 24 inches as your left hand now grabs and stops the line. Continue doing this until your fly is about 25 to 30 feet from the rod tip. Now, lift your rod and start your back cast. One thing to remember is that you want to get your next cast off with no more than 3 backcasts. That means that you’ll have to learn to use double hauling, which is a fly casting technique that means that you’ll have to pull back on your line when making your back cast and your fore cast. This, in turn will speed up both your back cast and fore cast. Once you have perfected this technique, you will add much distance to you fly cast. 

Remember, when you are stripping your line in, to keep the rod tip about a foot above the water and aimed at the incoming line so that you don’t have any bulge in the line. Also if you get a hit, keep the rod tip down so that the fish hooks itself. Once the fish has hooked-up you can raise the rod to keep some pressure on the fish, but not too much. Keep in mind, that an albacore can rip off a hundred yards of line off your reel in a matter of seconds. You really can’t do much on the first run of the fish, other than maintaining some pressure on him. Don’t forget that in most cases we’re using a 10 to 12 pound test tippet, so you can’t try to horse the fish in without parting your fly. Allow the fish to run when he’s pulling hard and retrieve line whenever you can, using the “reel-down, lift-up technique”. Always keep the rod bent so you can maintain some pressure on the fish.

Fly patterns-It is important to use the right fly to match the hatch when possible, remembering that it’s size, color and  profile that makes a difference. For example, if the fish are targeting a thin profiled bait like sandeels, you don’t want to try to copy the fly with a full profiled fly like a baby bunker pattern. Why, one is thin and long and the other is short and fat. Not a very good match. If you don’t have an exact copy fly pattern, use the closest pattern that you have.

Recommended Fly Patterns-

  1. Baby Bunker
  2. Sand eels
  3. Bonito Bunnies
  4. Silver sides
  5. Lefty’s Deceivers
  6. Clousers

Recommended Fly Lines-

  1. Full Sinking Line
  2. Sinking Tip Line
  3. Intermediate Line



Tight lines, but not too tight,

Capt. Bob Paccia

Shoreline Guide Service







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