Catching more albies is always on my mind, even on a cross county flight in the middle of the winter. If you fish for false albacore, you know what I mean. I'm cleaning up my laptop somewhere over Nebraska and came across this photo from one of the last days chasing false albacore around Cape Cod this past October. I got to spend some time up on the bow of the boat to close out the season when my wife Sarah was down in Falmouth for the final week of my stay on the Cape. We try to plan a week on the water ourselves after my last charter of the year and mix in trips to Edgartown for coffee or Cuttyhunk for oysters with some fishing time.
In this image it looks pretty calm but the wind was honking out of the southwest and the tide was dumping out of Waquoit Bay into Vineyard Sound. The albies were exploding out of the water, fighting each other to inhale the bait that was being sucked out by the ebbing current. It was rough enough where the fish were happiest that Sarah would work to hold the boat right in the seam of the strongest flow, on the edge of the largest waves, but close enough so that I could zing the Rio InTouch Striper 30ft Sink Tip line into the action zone. This wasn't graceful, River Runs Through It, fly casting. The wind was pushing the boat at a good clip and as soon as the line would land on the surface of the water it would rip in the opposite direction of our travel. Line management was key and an immediate start to a two-handed retrieve was critical to staying tight to the fly and detecting the hit from the marauding albies. All hell would break loose (that's not an exaggeration) when the fish would eat, which of course often occurred with the fly twenty feet from the boat and eighty feet of fly line swirling in the wind just above the deck. (Here's a good primer on clearing the fly line when a fast moving fish eats your fly.)
Dealing with the bobbing and rolling foredeck, the potential line snags, the sometimes ugly casts, was all worthwhile as these fish ate with abandon when I could get the fly in their path. That week after Columbus Day we had a lot of windy afternoons and day after day when the afternoon breeze would buck the dumping tide the fish were right in that rough water. The few boats coming in or out of Waquoit Bay would fight through the waves, concentrating on the seas but missing the fish, and then start their search for false albacore once they cleared the area where the wind met the strongest tide. I've seen it time and again, in that location and others. Next fall, remember that albies love choppy water and strong current. They won't always be zooming through the standing waves, but you'll catch more false albacore if you seek out these situations and take the time to watch the roughest water. And if your wife is happiest running the boat and spotting fish in these conditions, consider yourself very, very fortunate.
Capt. Peter Fallon
Gillies & Fallon Guide Service, LLC
824 Main Rd
Phippsburg, ME 04562