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False Albacore (Albie)I had one last shot. The hard tails had eluded me for the whole year, until now. I gripped the side rail aboard the seemingly 17 foot boat as Jeremy and I bounced our way through the rips from Rhode Isalnd across to Montauk. We arrived at Montauk, and I was immediately greeted with acres upon acres upon acres of stripers blitzing. This was Montauk, New York, the saltwater fishing meca of the northeast. With so many stripers and bluefish around, it was tough to keep pushing onward in search of the albies when we knew we could have had a record breaking day just “catching fish.” But, hardtails aren’t like other kinds fish of fish to me because the more often that I fish for the hardtails the more I feel the need to go back for more. With many other species of fish, I can easily “get my fix” and be on my way after catching a few. So as my eyes turned away from miles of dive bombing birds and bait chasing stripers and bluefish, Jeremy shouted to me “I think we may see our first confirmed hard tail within a few minutes?” I looked for the legendary push of water that the albies make when on the surface. “There they are!” I could easily tell the difference between the albies and the bluefish and stripers. I strung up my fly rod and put on a sand eel epoxy fly, my favorite fly for the albies and bonito. The fish we had previously encountered were long gone and we found ourselves zig-zagging our way around rips, cross currents and shoreline. As the light began to fade, I saw the tell-tale signs of hardtails. Up ahead, there were a couple terns circling and diving in the water. My eyes followed those little white birds, carefully looking for silver streaks and splashes indicating little tunoids on the surface. There they were! Jeremy quickly patterned the albies and realized that they were moving against the tide and close to the beach. Multiple pods were working the area and Jeremy positioned the boat ahead of the traveling fish. This was not a run and gun game, we quickly realized, because the albies spooked if we were to close and our boat shadow fell onto their territory. I blew a couple shots, took a breather, and relaxed. Jeremy once again positioned the boat ahead of the fish for one last shot. I saw the albies ahead and waited for the perfect moment, but they went down as soon as they came. “There!” Jeremy barked in my ear as he pointed to my immediate left. I threw out all the line I had on the deck, made a quick double hand strip, and was tight with my first and last albie of the year! As the fish got closer, I could see the blue and green hues that send shivers down many fly fishermen’s spine. It was my first albie of the 2008 season, and at the very last tide I would fish all year!