Now, I must clarify things... I have never really targeted albies from shore. This was the first time I've gone out and thought I had any sort of chance finding any, let alone hooking them. I'd like to think I'm at the point where I can fairly effectively pattern fish even when I have minimal experience catching them though, and I was very confident today. We saw albie within 10 minutes at the first spot. It took significantly longer to have some within casting range, but it wasn't like we sat around all day. After a few pods passed through without us sticking any I got my little deceiver right where it had to be, quite a task in the wind. I was three or four feet into the retrieve when I got the first of three hits, all in quick succession. The third fish finally stuck, and it was off to the races. I kind of forgot just how bad ass these little things are. They aren't big fish, mind you. A 20lb albie is a monstrous one. The ones we caught today weren't close to that, but I'm not so sure I'd want to hook one of those from shore. I thin 15 albies in a day would probably be too many, honestly. They take a lot of energy out of you, and it's all because their initial run is just nuckin futs. The first I got was pretty much what I expected, well into the backing very fast! After that initial run it was a little bit of give and take, then tight circles right near the jetty, where the fish showed off his epic colors. I should add, these fish are tailor made to be tailed. Very easy to handle.
Next up, Noah Johnson. He makes the cast, and, YES! He's got one, and it's a drag screamer folks!
We both had a few follows and takes after that but it was a little while before either of us hooked up again. It turned out to be me. I was had actually turned towards Noah to say "They're not really showing any more but they're definitely still around". I only got half of that out before my fly got slammed. This fish didn't think twice, he just got the hell out of Dodge and he did it at about 35mph. It was far and away the fastest and longest run I've ever had from any kind of fish. Blistering, just blistering. It took me a long time to get all that line back on my reel, and attached to the other end was this beauty:
That ended up being the last albie of the day. Honestly, I don't mind that I didn't get more, that fish and I whipped each other pretty well I think. You can see I'm not smiling as much as I was with the first fish, that's because I'm friggen exhausted! Arms is tired, heart's beatin fast, sweatin BAD.
It was not, however, the end of the action. I got a few bottom fish, including one little tog on the fly and an oyster toad fish on a live crab, unfortunately he got away before I could take his picture. I need to get one of those on the fly!
As darkness fell the peanut bunker came around and so did some bass an bluefish. They were a good way to end a truly awesome day; not so exhausting to battle!
I'm far from done with the hard tails though, Mark Alpert and I will be out and about tomorrow, raising hell on the high seas with fly rods in hand. False albacore beware.