With lots of boaters racing around to get casts into schools of little tunny, blog follower George Shave contributed his thoughts on boat fishing for our greatest fighting fish in inshore waters. I also originally called this fish false albacore, a name probably given to it by anglers due to its shape like the albacore that anglers in my youth thought were a Pacific species before canyon fishing started off the east coast and albacore were found to be often abundant in the canyons at this time of year. The albacore is a member of the tuna clan which can’t be mistaken for any other due to its extended pectoral fins which stretch almost to the tail and earned them the nickname “longfin”. The little tunny has very short pectorals and distinguishing spots. Furthermore, the albacore  is the white-meat tuna while the little tunny has coarse meat which requires blanching as table food. The worst part about the false albacore name is that it has become shortened to just albacore — creating confusion. I’ve even seen party boats advertising albacore trips when they have no intention of running to the canyons for that species and no chance of catching them inshore.

George’s contribution follows:
“Don’t Let Albie Fever Ruin It For Everyone.
Contributor: George Shave, 20’ Jones Brothers.It’s that time of the year when the False Albacore arrive and offer recreational fisherman a chance to tangle with an exciting adversary of the inshore waters. False Albacore, AKA Albies, offer an incredible light tackle angling experience. When these speedsters appear, ALBIE FEVER can quickly take over and we forget to use Albie Etiquette.

Here are some reminders to make everyone’s experience more enjoyable:

– RESPECT BEACH FISHERMAN. They are far less mobile and in places like Sandy Hook, those anglers humped to get out there. If fish are blitzing on the beaches, leave them to the beach fisherman. It’s only a matter of time until they show further out.

– RESPECT THE FLY GUYS. A Fly Rod has an effective range of 60 feet or so if you’re a good caster in optimal winds. Spinning Rods can throw three times that distance without trying. Give the Fly Guys a little grace when they’re trying to make those casts.

– DON’T RUN UP ON BLITZING FISH. Run & Gun is a tactic that might get you to the fish first but scatters the bait and puts the Albies down quickly. Better to approach with little wake and hold a reasonable distance from fish and other boats. It’s not only good etiquette but you’ll find that the Albies feed longer.

– DON’T MUSCLE IN. If there are already a number of boats on a pod of fish, wait for another pod to present themselves – IT WILL HAPPEN! Albies will run line off, especially for the guys chasing them with a fly rod.…give those anglers room to fight their fish. If you’re with someone else and hook a fish, have your buddy ease the boat out of the pod so another boat can get a turn.

– “WAS THAT A LURE THAT ALMOST HIT ME? C’mon man…don’t be throwing your Deadly Dicks around boat traffic and fisherman where you could risk hitting their boat or even the anglers.

– THE ALBIES ARE STILL THERE. Just because you don’t see them blitzing after they sound, doesn’t mean they have moved on. Chances are those fish are chasing Rain Bait below the surface. Take some time and put in a few casts…you might be pleasantly surprised. That’s going to cut down on the Run & Gun BS which scatters the bait and the Albies, and give us all better chances of success.

Have a great season…make some Albie memories…and just be respectful toward others. It’s really that simple. ”

albie-George Shave
Surfcasters haven’t needed much consideration from boaters so far as little tunny have remained far out of reach even though boaters have found lots of them from Shrewsbury Rocks to the Highlands Bridge. Allen Riley of South Plainfield made yet another trip to Monmouth Beach this morning and found little of the previously abundant bait in the surf there. He watched boaters chasing flocks of birds, but there was nothing close to the calm beach. He had a Storm Shad tail bitten off, and caught a small blue on metal, “Albacore Tony” Martino of Ocean Township was on the beach looking for little tunny within reach as he has for weeks without success.
Tank Matraxia of Lyndhurst and his crew were out there today on an open trip of Tagged Fish from Highlands. Off Sandy Hook they only found small bluefish on top, but there were shots at little tunny off Sea Bright. He only lost one at the boat, but some of the anglers aboard caught several. Tank noted that the blackfishing which followed in shallow waters was very picky for the one allowed at present, though one angler had the touch and caught several on green crabs.
I still haven’t seen any little tunny from the surf to the south. Casting a popper for stripers in the Spring Lake surf produced only two hits before I moved to Point Pleasant Canal and caught a small striper on a Z Man 6-inch Swimmereez  with my fourth cast. There were no more hits after that during a brief try. Vinnie D’Anton fought the low water conditions at Manasquan and managed one striper.
At Seaside Park, Grumpy’s Tackle reports continued good action with small blues in the surf on mullet; Small plugs are producing mostly short bass in the surf at night — and also in the back bay.
Miss Belmar Princess reported continued good bluefishing inside the Mud Hole with long drifts and good readings both in the deep and on top of hills. Most of the blues are 2-to-4-pounders with a few 6-pounders mixed in plus a showing of bonito and little tunny. They won’t be fishing Friday due to a forecast of NE winds gusting up to 25 knots. However, that’s predicted to diminish in the afternoon and drop to light winds over the weekend.

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