The early fall months on the North Carolina coast are truly exceptional. Crisp mornings that lead to perfect afternoons create ideal conditions for unforgettable days on the water. During this brief period each year, anglers from all over the country come to the coast in pursuit of an albie, short for "False Albacore." These small tuna looking fish, more closely related to the mackerel family than tuna, are often mistaken for bonito. They are a challenge to catch, but when everything comes together, it's an unforgettable experience.
We called up a few of our Fish Hippie friends for an adventure, setting our sights on Beaufort, North Carolina, one of our favorite destinations, to test our luck with these albies. Fortunately, our timing couldn't have been better, as we were greeted with some of the best weather conditions imaginable – calm winds, clear skies, and, most importantly, happy fish.
Our day began by chasing small flocks of birds that were dive-bombing into the water to feed on schools of baitfish. These albies move quickly, and after countless casts without success, we made the decision to move farther east. It didn't take long before we stumbled upon a school of bluefish. While they weren't our primary target, we couldn't resist giving it a try. We caught one fish after another, to the point where it started feeling like routine. The bluefish were on a feeding frenzy, devouring anything in their path. After losing a few flies and experiencing some unexpected bites, we pushed on and found what we had set out for: a large group of birds diving into the water with albies in pursuit. Within moments, we were hooked up to our first albie, and the cheers of the crew filled the air. After a hard battle, we had our first albie in hand. The day was one of those fishing days where everything seemed to fall into place. We ended up landing several more albies, hooked a huge blacktip shark, and reeled in so many bluefish that we lost count.
If you ever have the opportunity to visit the North Carolina coast during this time of year, you have to try fishing for albies. It's an experience every angler should have. We want to thank Capt. John Smolko and Robbie for taking us out and sharing their slice of paradise with us.