In autumn, Rhode Island anglers like Jonny Rego anticipate the false albacore’s arrival. Along with bluefish and stripers, false albacore follow huge schools of baitfish through the southern New England for an annual fall feeding frenzy. Rego, a local kayak fishing guide and host of Fishing With Jonny, found himself right in the middle of the albie action this year. Will he land a hardtail of his own, or just get pelted with panicked baitfish?
False Albacore Fishing or Bust
“It’s another albie or bust type trip,” Rego announces as he hits the water, “so let’s get to chasing after these hardtails.” He soon spots his targets cruising on the surface nearby. The hunting albies drive a school of halfbeaks directly into Rego’s path, so close that the baitfish nearly jump right into his boat. Rego casts into the blitz and feels a bite, but the hardtail pops off his hook.
“The bait and fish came so close to me I kind of panicked,” Rego admits afterward. “They pop up super sporadically like that. With these crazy feeds you get like a 15-second window.” Rego gives blind casting a try, but eventually he settles in to wait for the next round of surface feeding. 45 minutes later, his patience pays off.
“This is all about throwing into blitzing albies.”
We jump back into the action as Rego has hooked up off camera. “Dude, those halfbeaks just popped out of nowhere,” he says. “When [false albacore are] on these halfbeaks like this they’ll eat anything, so…get a freaking lure out.”
After a blistering run Rego reels in the albie, holding the “little football” up for the camera. “These are such an awesome fish,” he says before releasing the hardtail to hunt again. As commenter Tim Connors adds: “Love it when the blitz finds you! Especially in the kayak.”