This time of the year in the northeast is the time we start to see the first of the tunoids visiting us. It is something that I very much look forward to as they provide extremely exciting and of course very challenging fishing. These fish, unlike striped bass and bluefish, typically feed at a very high rate of speed chasing their prey down in a very dramatic and visually explosive and exciting manner. Just watching them rip through a school of silversides or other baitfish is almost as much fun as fishing to them. Since this will only be my third season on the east coast, I don't have a lot of experience fishing for them. I have been lucky though since two years ago was a huge year numbers wise and they were very prolific that year. I managed to both albies and 1 bonito off of a jetty here in New York and i had never even fished for them before. Last year was a different story and i never even saw any in the new york area near shore. I did get out on a boat a few times and managed to get a few, but it was nothing like the previous year. Each time I have fished for them, I have been successful with a very traditional older pattern called the alba clouser developed i think by lefty kreh which is nothing more than a clouser tied with super hair. I also have hooked a few on the popovics surf candy which i know is a favorite of many anglers fishing for these fish (it is one of Jeremy's go to flies) . I am familiar with several other patterns that look great, and a few that I know catch fish but i haven't fished any. I was just curious about any other favorite patterns that people have and why? Also wondering if anyone has had success or experimented with weird off colors for them such as red, purple, black, blue etc?
Definatley one of my favorite species of fish to fish for on the fly. I think "flies" and albies and albie fisherman are very similar to "flies" and steelhead fisherman .. in the sense that confidence in fly plays a big part. And, if you have confidence in the pattern you are throwing, you will probably catch fish. But, since the window of opportunity is relatively short for Albies and Bonito it can be kind of hard to acquire lots of confidence in different patterns since every year is different in terms of how many fish "show up." Some years, like 2 years ago .. it was albie heaven (in the water me and my friends were fishing) .. last year was just ok .. and nothing compared to the previous year. So, I think a lot of guys have a pattern that they use and rely on because its hard enough finding the fish, getting a couple shots etc.. and the opportunities for "fooling around" and "testing" flies is not always an option. Sometimes, especially the shore angler has to work pretty hard for these fish. Anyway, with that said .. some of the flies I have seen guys do really well on are:
1. Olive/White surf candies (small all the way through really long patterns)
2. Blue/white surf candies
3. chartreuse/white surf candies
4. small sand eel patterns
5. rootbeer colored bay anchovie type epoxy patterns
6. Purple and white mush mouth/deceiver type flies
7. Bonito Bunnies
8. Albie Whore
And, with those things said -- there are probably lots more that I don't know about .. but, for me my "tried and true" pattern is olive/white surf candie with a strip of silver down the middle. And its important that the epoxy go all the way back behind the bend of the hook to eliminate even the slightest chance for fowling - because if the fly has even a couple strands of material wrapped around the hook and it doesn't ride exactly right .. the fish don't ever seem to take it .. So, no matter what pattern I am using .. I always try to ensure that the fly is fowl proof. Hope this helps - curious to hear what other people use and feel confident with.
I have had some good results using the Jiggy. I prefer Chart. over White with Chart. Flash, and Yellow over White with Pearl or Silver Flash. I do think however, that it is more important to have a good helping of flash, than to use a specific pattern.
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