13 Oct October Albies Can Be Fussy
October Albies Can Be Fussy
It is written all over their long faces. “What do I have to do to catch one of these damn albies?” It seems this October stretch has been particularly harsh. Especially in contrast to the fall of 2017 which was the best albie year in recent memory. The albies are in all their usual spots just not every day like last year, and this October has brought lot’s of wind and swell and an unconscionable amount of bait. There is still plenty of fish around as one guide, and one customer had similar observations and commented that they “saw albies from the Newport Harbor to Little Compton.”
October albies can seem fussy due to the abundant bait and the changing menu. It’s important to remember that not all bait is created equal and that some baits school more tightly than others. Bay anchovies and peanut bunker stay in tight formation whereas silversides and sand eels and lord knows what else swim in loose schools. Tight schools focus the feed.
October seems to have more “lord knows what else” baits around. Albies keyed on silversides can seem especially tough. Silversides are an abundant bait in October, and they swim in loose schools deeper in the water column and further from shore than the peanuts. Much harder to discern than the rusty patches created by bay anchovies and the surface dimpling migration of peanut bunker. Retrieves of realistic jigs and soft plastics need to be lower and slower when albies are keyed on silversides.
I’ve had my share of frustration this month, so I’ll share my personal experience from my last three trips as we are in this together!
October Albie Trip One:
One was a boat trip with windy and bumpy conditions making the fly rod a near impossibility. We had great drifts and lots of opportunities, but the albies were scattered. You might see half a dozen splashes within 60 feet of the boat, but there was no concentration of feeding activity. It was a tough go for the fleet. I only recall one hook up among the nearly dozen boats.
It was when we scanned to the horizon down tide did we see a concentration of bird activity suggesting a more concentrated bait ball. While it was still tough, they stayed up longer, and my buddy got two nice sized albies for Southern New England.
October Albie Trip Two:
My other two outings were to the same local hot spot with deep water close to shore. When I walked from the truck just after first light, I felt like the odds were in my favor with an incoming tide and an onshore breeze. When there was enough light, I could see the massive schools of peanuts at my feet. I threw the Clarkspoon Shad Jig and then went low and slow with Hogy Epoxies and Mighty Fish Epoxies to imitate the silversides. A fishless 45 minutes or so of blind casting and another angler shared that “It was nutty yesterday afternoon, but the only guy I saw hooking up was burning a bone SP Minnow” I thought “Ok, I’ll go to work and come back for the drop.”
October Albie Trip Three:
I got back there later in the dropping tide than I had hoped, but the peanut bunker were thick, and there were some silversides as well. I optimistically threw a variety of lures including epoxies, Albie Snax and an egg and fly. And I consciously mixed up the retrieve speeds letting the jig settle a bit deeper due to the utter lack of surface activity. It was disappointing the only fish I saw in the hour before sunset busted five feet below me tight to the breakwater I was fishing from. 0-3!
What was worked for you when the October albies are fussy? Please share in the comments.