Every year at this time I have to do a blog trying to straighten out the confusion created by skippers advertising inshore trips for “albacore”. The one thing guaranteed with such trips is that you will not catch an albacore.
Albacore are an oceanic species found in temperate waters throughout most of the world. They are impossible to misidentify due to their very long pectoral fins which reach almost to the tail. As a result, they are often referred to as longfins. In NY/NJ Bight they are most often taken from late summer through fall in the canyons. I only remember seeing them locally inshore of the canyons once while once many decades ago aboard the late Capt. Bob Pisano’s Ol’ Salty while trolling at the Texas Tower. Ironically, my personal record 60-pound albacore was chunked on Sept. 12,1985 on the west bank of Butterfish Hole only about a dozen miles from Montauk Point as an abundance of large sand eels drew them in where we caught them mixed in with both yellowfin and bluefin tuna in a very unusual situation.
The common name for the little tunny of false albacore probably came from anglers who had never seen an albacore which was not thought to be available to us before canyon fishing started. Only the general shape of the two species is somewhat similar. In addition to the long pectorals, albacore have no spots — and there’s a world of difference in edibility. Advertising albacore when little tunny are the target is like a restaurant advertising steak but serving hamburger with the excuse that they’re both beef.
Little tunny are, pound for pound, as game as any fish in the oceans. They are well worth the money to pursue with light tackle. and fight so hard that some can’t recover for a release. Though the flesh is coarse and bloody, they can be utilized by cleaning them right away and blanching all the blood out. Some do that by soaking the fillets in milk in the fridge overnight. When my charter customers wanted to try them, I dropped the fillets into a bucket of sea water along with ice. By the time we were back those fillets were white and very edible.
The Jamaica from Brielle had a great variety trip Friday as two bluefin tuna and two houndfish were included along with king and Spanish mackerel plus bonito, loads of chub mackerel and many bluefish limits. They will sail at 6:30 a.m. Monday on a limited trip to get more of the early bite. For reservations call 732 528-5014.
Phil Sciortino, at The Tackle Box in Hazlet, reported that St. Croix Pro Staffer Dave Torrick had double hook-ups from tilefish on last week’s trip of the Gambler from Point Pleasant by using Fisherman’s Choice marinated salmon strips.
Small craft warning s are up through Sunday afternoon. Northwest winds at 10-15 knots will gust to 25.