2023 Albie Shootout Five Day Snapshot
The albies stormed Rhode Island slightly ahead of schedule this year, setting the stage for what seemed to be a guaranteed hot start. With good runs of fish at Block Island, Aquidneck Island and Point Judith inside Ocean State waters, along with another heavy push of fish that invaded Nantucket Sound and the Elizabeth Islands several days earlier, around the time the tunny were making landfall in Rhody, they were also pushing through the gaps in the Elizabeths and spreading out into Buzzards Bay, particularly around the north end of Woods Hole.
Offshore storms are a constant concern at this time of year, and always seem to show up at the most inopportune times. While all this albie movement was taking place in south-central New England, we also had Hurricane Franklin churning northwest of Bermuda, a ‘fish storm’ for sure it would still come with consequences along the New England coast. With sunny skies and relatively placid winds, the scene at the shoreline was anything but. Towering rollers crossed every reef with 6- to 10-foot waves battering every unsheltered shoreline and leaving a silty, blown out sea in its wake. Everywhere you looked, the water was browned out and full of weeds going into Labor Day Weekend, but north and northwest winds took over, standing up the waves and allowing the suspended junk to precipitate out.
Clean water returned by Saturday afternoon and the albie-afflicted were able to resume the endless search for another fix. By most accounts, the albie fishing through the long weekend was sporadic, the massive pods of fish that were reported off of Brenton Reef and along the breachways had either moved off or been broken up but the big seas and silty water. Reports were spotty with some finding no fish and others lucking into a one to three. Another move was to hit Buzzards Bay or venture into the sheltered waters of Vineyard Sound, reports told of similar results there, vast swaths of fish-less water with some concentrated pods of albies that were taking heavy fire from all sides. The best action on the Cape seemed to be around Woods Hole again.
When something like this happens, your best bet is to stick with the bait and these fast-moving feeding machines will, eventually, find it. The most recent reports seem to confirm the validity of that statement; with news of numerous pods of albies converging on both Weekapaug and Charlestown Breachways, both of these outlets churn out insane amounts of baitfish with predator fish lining up like cars at any Chick-Fil-A in the Northeast, seriously, an hour wait!? It’s a chicken sandwich people!
The Holiday Weekend and the back-to-work days that have followed have produced a modest showing in the 2023 Albie Shootout. We have two entries from boat division regular Patrick Hay along with two more in the boat division from Charles Talbot. The shore and kayak divisions have one entry apiece, the yak entry comes to us from Aaron Nickerson and the shore catch was landed by another longtime participant, Sean Hughes. Patrick Hay also entered five bonito this week, which only serves to further illustrate that 2023 seems to be an above average bonito year.
The next seven days look like albie days across the region with relatively stable weather and manageable seas. Soon-to-be Hurricane Lee appears to be one to keep an eye on. At the very least, it’s likely to batter our shorelines with more groundswell heave which will – almost certainly – shuffle the deck yet again. But there is also a remote chance of this storm actually impacting the New England coast, let’s all take a moment to hope or pray that this doesn’t happen!
The other thing to take into account is that the albies will continues to fill in throughout southern New England and staying a step or two ahead of the migration will put you ahead of the mosquito fleet and crowded jetties. We still have a long way to go in this thing and don’t forget to try and shoot some exceptional photos because we also have a photo contest and Sean Hughes is the clear early frontrunner with his tandem hookup shot also entered this week.
If you haven’t entered the 2023 Albie Shootout yet, follow THIS LINK to get all the details on how to get in on the action and what you could win simply by snapping a few photos.