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False Albacore Fly FishingEvery year in September I sneak away on vacation for 1-2 weeks. Last year I spent two weeks in Colorado chasing monster browns in the Gunnison Gorge and in the headwaters of the Black Canyon. This year I decided to venture back home to Boston to visit with friends and family, and to chase around the stripers and blues. Growing up in Eatsern Massachusetts there are plenty of fishing options for a young kid. There are countless ponds and lakes to try your luck for bass, crappie, blugills and pickerel, and even the chance of catching a wild brook trout on one of our little overgrown creeks. Most of the ponds I fished were easily accessible by a short bike ride with my fishing rod duct taped to my handle bars. Once I began driving a lot more options opened up. The biggest one being able to drive myself to the salt. Anything would do! A jetty, a salt pond or any estuary, brackish water rivers…all of them had potential to hold bigger fish. And thus was the beginning of an addiction.So as I fly out of Reno and head back to Beantown the anticipation is building. All I can think about is heading back to my old spots again and throwing Clousers and gurglers all day long with the hope of hooking up a striper, blue or albie on the fly. I have been doing research for months now, looking into tides, guides, different hot spots, and generally doing any kind of networking possible to hopefully have a successful fishing trip. I got to talking with Jeremy on FaceBook and made plans to potentially fish with him for a day or two when I was back in the area. Unfortunately, he had some problems with his boat and we weren’t able to make it happen. Evidently, when a boat can only turn to the right it is not a good thing. So with little time left in my trip Jeremy told me about a spot where I could possible have a chance at catching an albacore from shore. I didn’t even know this was really possible. We talked for a while, he gave me some killer directions, I called up a buddy of mine and we set out at 4:00 am to get on the water by first light. Jeremy instructed me to head out by all of the other fly rodders on the jetty and to talk to them, he assured me that they would all be more than willing to help a fellow fly fisherman who was interested in the same thing that brought them to that very same jetty. As I walked down the rocks in search of a good spot to cast, I ran into Nate who is a friend of Jeremy’s. Nate lives in New Hampshire, and drove well over 3 hours to get the chance at an albie. He left his house around 2:30 am! He made this same trip about 30 times the previous season. Talk about hardcore! We talked for a bit, he gave me some great advice pertaining to fly choice, striping methods, and basically what to look for. He told us that we may only get one legit shot at them so to be ready at all times. So we made a few casts together and then eventually spread out down the jetty amongst the other fly and spinning anglers.We continued to throw blind cast after blind cast into the Atlantic. With each cast and retrieve we tried to do something different. Some quick strips, some slow long strips,and even some two handed ultra fast retrieves. Each cast was a learning experience. We had a pretty strong wind at our backs all day long, blowing between 15-25 mph. And as an Eastern Sierra Trout fisherman, this proved to be a challenge. We never use a shooting head, and don’t get much practice throwing the 10 weight. It is a little overkill for trout fishing. So after about 40 blind casts or so everything started to come together. I was finally getting use to throwing the shooting head on the big boy rod. Now all we need was for lightning to strike with in casting range.Everyone on the jetty was patiently waiting together for the arrival. Then all of a sudden it happened! Lightning started to strike! Albies were everywhere! We were seeing bait cascades, water boiling and albies launching all over the horizon. The anticipation was killing me, I just wanted to see someone hook up. We continued throw aimlessly into the salt in hope to find a school that night have ventured close to the sea wall. We had some surface about 200 feet away from us, well out of my casting range. I don’t think that even Steve Rajeff could have reached them. So as the albies moved on away from us again, went back to scanning the surface for activity. There was plenty of commotion on the surface but could never get a beat on it. They would pop up to our left at 300 feet, then to our right at well over 200 yards. I kept wondering were we going to get a shot, would they for some reason end up right under our noses inside of casting range? We continued to scan for signs of anything close. Then out of nowhere they appeared. They were right in front of me, and in a decent size school none the less. They were boiling on bait and were only about 50 feet away. About 2,000 different thoughts were charging through my mind, don’t drop your back cast, watch the sinking line near the jetty, strip line into the stripping basket, be accurate. As I made my cast into the pod time seemed to slow down. I watched my cast go about 85 feet through the air when only about 50 was needed. I began stripping my eel pattern as fast as possible hoping to get it into that school. It seemed like an eternity for my fly to reach the frenzy. I was watching albies turn on their sides in an act of pure gluttony just devouring bait. I continued to strip like a mad man until one actually ate mt fly! It was an indescribable feeling. The pure pulling power was incredible. The lil’ tuny took me into my backing immediately. The only other way to get into your backing like that would be to snag a southbound big rig on Interstate 95 doing 70 MPH!! The albie made a blistering run to the left, and then another to the right. He ran parallel to the jetty for a while, the entire time I was just praying that he would not get into the rocks or that my line would not run across a barnacle and break me off. We danced for a while to the sound of my Ross Momentum’s drag spinning like crazy. A dance that I will truly never forget. As the battle was reaching its end I looked down the jetty to find Nate running towards me. He ran about 150 yards down the jetty to land this fish for me. What an incredible act of kindness! He made his way down the slippery rocks and tailed my albie. As I made my way down the rocks for a quick photo op I didn’t even think to take my time on the slippery jetty and found myself laying on my back on a sea weed covered jagged rock. At this point nothing could have hurt me. My adrenaline was rushing like spring time snow pack runoff. I popped up and my buddy took a couple quick pics as I sent the lil’ tuny back on his way with my best albie fastball! After shouting out in pure joy, and feeling the tremors that fish a special fish often will leave me with, I took a minute to ponder on what had actually just happened. The amount of luck involved was tremendous. I got probably the best shot at an albie on foot that you could ever hope for. They truly strike just like lightning and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Albie shore fisherman can sometimes fish for years without a shot like the one I got on this particular day, and for that I thank Poseidon. Eastern ablie fisherman are the hardest of the hard core! They travel huge distances to chase something that is always moving, they battle early chiming alarm clocks, big winds and swells, the constant teasing from albies just out of casting range, and still they come back for more. Now I fully understand why. Albacore are absolutley amazing and I feel tremendously privileged to have fought one on a fly. A huge thanks goes out to Jeremy and Nate for helping me out. I owe you guys so much and hopefully I can repay you if you are ever out in the Lake Tahoe, California area. Maybe a west coast steelhead would be an even trade?