Albies at CALO, 12/1 & 12/2/2017 - Post Awards -
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Albies at CALO, 12/1 & 12/2/2017

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Awarded by , 12-11-2017 at 11:18 AM (453 Views)

Quote Originally Posted by Spider Crack View Post
Launched from Taylor’s Creek ramp in Beaufort shortly before dawn on Friday morning. Headed out of Beaufort Inlet looking for birds and breaking fish. Ran the front of Shack, checked Barden Inlet, but found no fish. Lots of trawlers around with birds everywhere, but apparently no feeding fishing behind the boats. Eventually ended up on the east side of the Cape Lookout shoals where we spent another hour unsuccessfully looking for any clues of fish.

Crossed back over to the west side and began to pay more attention to radio traffic. We could see at least a dozen boats south of us near the shoals all apparently hunting for albies. Radio reports indicated fish had been caught earlier that morning, but now boats were having difficulty locating the fish. About 2.5 miles SW of Shark Island we dropped small Yo-Zuri Deep Divers and started to troll. Quickly got a knockdown on a pink plug, and when we returned to the spot we hooked up. From that point on we picked up very nice 8-10lb albies with regularity. By early afternoon we had boated 25-30 fish, with several over 10lbs and at least one big slob that weighed at least 20lbs if not a few pounds more. The pink Yo-Zuri DDs outfished everything else 20:1. I was using a 4000 class Shimano reel with a medium action rod, and the biggest fish almost spooled me. We had to spin the boat around and chase the fish a bit to gain enough line back on the reel to finish the fight. On Friday all fish were caught on DDs, and we saw no breaking fish all day. The afternoon wind kicked up as well which made trolling 6-7 MPH pretty snotty. So we headed back to the ramp mid-afternoon completely exhausted.

The NE wind on Saturday morning was pretty brisk, even at dawn. We stayed protected in front of Shack until we reached Barden Inlet. As we approached we spotted a small pod of breaking fish -- which looked hopeful, but we cruised around with no further sign of feeding fish. Eventually, we decided to drop the trolling gear, and we quickly hooked up. As we’d done the previous day, we dropped GPS waypoints when we hooked fish, then trolled over that pattern of waypoints repeatedly. We found the bites were in such a tight cluster that we drifted with the outgoing current past those spots, then cast metal jigs, letting them fall deep down in the water column before we began our retrieve. Fish held right in the mouth of Barden’s for a couple of hours, and we caught a bunch on casting jigs to add to the multiple fish we’d caught earlier trolling. Eventually that bite went cold, so we dropped the trolling gear again in an attempt to relocate the fish. Just after we passed the inlet buoy, we hooked up again -- marked the spot and made several passes. Not only did we catch more but these were a bigger class than the ones we’d caught earlier inside the inlet. One pushed 12lb on our scales, another bottom out the 15lb scales. Again, most of the fish came on a small pink Yo-Zuri Deep Diver. We ended the day with 15-20 fish.

Both days we caught False Albacore that were bigger than I’d ever seen, much less caught. The big one from Friday was at least 20lbs, and at least one from Saturday at least 15lbs. We kept a few fish for sashimi & poke, but most of the fish were released in good health.

A much different way of catching albies than I have experienced. DIdn’t cast to breaking fish once in two days. There were plenty of birds around, but it didn’t sound like many fishermen near us were successful in finding fish on the surface. Did see a small group busting the surface on Sat., but didn’t get there in time to cast. Most of the fish were clearly staying down in the water column, and they appeared to be chasing large bait. One fish coughed up a 6-8” croaker, another a 8-10” pogie. Have never seen albies feeding on such large bait -- usually it’s the opposite problem, i.e., they’re feeding on such small bait that it’s hard to “match the hatch.”

We did rely on the sonar to find baitfish, and would often start trolling there. But once we hooked up, use of our GPS was critical. I know albies can move around at 40MPH, but it's clear they were favoring certain areas for whatever reason, and our ability to relocate areas where we had bites was critical in catching more fish. The navigation skills of my buddy Barry ensured that we got back on the fish quickly and consistently -- even though his unselfish attention to handling the boat often meant he didn't catch as many fish as he could have otherwise.

A great two days of catching. My gear was a bit light (4000 class reel, medium action rod) but catching 10lb plus “tuna” (albies) on bass gear was a blast!

Water temps in upper 50s (ranged from 56-59F, I recall). Wind out of NW (Friday) and NE (Sat), at least 10-15MPH, maybe higher, and wind gusts really picked up Fri PM and Sat.

FWIW // Joel

A short but fun little auto-generated video of some clips from the trip:

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