False Albacore The Best Of Times...
The late summer and early fall is a special time for saltwater fly rodders in Southern New England. The anticipation and often spotty arrival of bonito and then false albacore have anglers gathering intel and thinking about flies for false albacore. Bonito typically arrive first and then abruptly disappear they seem to get muscled out by the albies or have better things to do. Then tropical storms that bring heavy rain and wind dirty the water have us all holding our collective breaths that the hardtails will return. Some years after the albies leave a bigger bonito (some to 10lbs) can pay one last/ short visit to our shores.
That said there are seem to be a few sensational days every year where it is going off up and down the coast and quite a few where the fish seem hard to fool. Tons of bait, busting hardtails and, no tug. On those days there a few "go-to" flies for false albacore that you should try to mix things up.
Stay In The Wheelhouse
Weighted Bonito Bunny - Cast the fly and let it settle through the commotion. I sometimes use a slow hand twist retrieve just to stay connected. Hardtail use there speed to overtake their prey. They don't turn on a dime like a bluefish to hit a bait they missed. Letting the fly settle makes it appear to be a stunned or injured baitfish and less likely to escape. Leaving your fly it in the "wheelhouse" longer can pay real dividends. This is also the fly I blind cast with when you know there are fish in the area, but none on top.
Stand Out From The Crowd
Skok's Whitebait Mushy Tuiti Fruiti - When there is so much bait, be it anchovies or peanut bunker. Dave Skok's pattern stands out. I also throw a Tutti Fruiti Clouser if you want to get deeper
Other Menu Items
Try a realistic sand eel and squid pattern that is larger than the bait without being ungodly so. It's not uncommon for other bigger baits to be feeding on the same bait ball. Fish these flies around the edges.
Making Matters Worse
Sometimes Mother Nature is just too generous with the bait, and no matter what you do, it seems hard to compete with the voluminous bait. This can be a frustrating experience. Here is a Tackle and Tactics post on "How to Fish Bait Balls" that might help.
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