Fishing the trolled and cast fly for Albacore offshore Oregon this year has been fantastic.
Fantastic means that something is going on all the time, I learn something new every time out, we see porpoise, whales, sharks, sunfish, jellyfish, and sometimes even jumping Albacore.
Fishing for these sleek speedsters can be desperately slow at times, because we 1) can’t find the fish, 2) can’t find the right fly to entice a grab, or 3) the fish just aren’t on the eat. But when Albacore are receptive to the fly, action can be furious.
These fish are strong and fast, take a lot of line, and you will work hard to get them to the boat. It is nothing unusual to see well over two hundred yards of backing plus fly line disappear on their first run. With fish ranging from a little under twenty to a little over thirty pounds, – wow, what fun fly rod fish.
I’ve been playing with a GoPro camera this year, with very mixed results. A few moments on the memory card here allow me to share a tiny fraction of the fun we have experienced, from porpoise, to a double on the fly.
There will be time to blog about tackle and technique later, after the flies are tied and the season is over. here are the basics:
Rods: twelve wts are the right size. The only ten wt I have found practical to fish for Albacore is the Echo PRIME one piece rod. Most of ten wt fly rods just don’t have the lifting power you will want. A new SAGE SALT rod is a perfect match for Albies, and I have pulled hard on this rod with Albacore pulling right back.
Reels: I have been consistently fishing a Hatch 9 and a Hatch 11. Of these two reels, I prefer the 11 because of its deep backing capacity and larger diameter to increase my retrieve speed. There are many very good reels out there, but I don’t own them all – yet (ha ha).
Lines: Fast Sinking lines have been my best producers both trolling and casting. The AIRFLO Big Game Depth Finder and RIO Leviathan are longer lines (about 150 ft) and have a stronger core. The long length allows you to get the line on the reel sooner and the core means you stress your line less. I’m fishing 25 lb fluorocarbon leaders and most normal fly lines have cores in the 30-35 lb strength range which means there isn’t much difference between your leader and your fly line. The SA Streamer express has also performed well for me too, but I have not researched the core strength on this line. That said, my friends have fished the RIO Striper lines and Custom Cut t-14 lines by both RIO and AIRFLO and done just fine fishing 20 lb Maxima UltraGreen leaders.
Flies? All of the Albacore flies that have been featured recently in our video series have produced, plus clousers as long as 7-inches. There will be times when the Albies seem to want smaller flies and times when the bigger flies seems to be more effective.
Enough for now, I hope this little video clip allows you to share a tiny fraction of the fun we have been having offshore.
Jay Nicholas, September 2014