Fly Fishing for False Albacore

by | Sep 20, 2018 | flyfishing for false albacore

Jeff Currier fly fishing Cape CodI grew up in Massachusetts right near the ocean and was raised fly fishing.  Although dad and I made the occasional surf fishing trips to Plum Island, most our time was spent freshwater trout fishing on the Ipswich River, largemouth bass fishing on Hoods Pond and smallmouth fishing on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.  Since I left the area in 1983, I find myself hitting the New England saltwater more than I did back then.


fly fishing for false albacoreAs you know from yesterdays blog I gave a talk at the Osterville Angler’s Club here on Cape Cod last night.  Today I gave a full day saltwater flats fishing seminar for the Cape Cod Flyrodders.  The organizer of my events this week is Bob Lewis and when Bob booked me to speak he planned to take me out in his boat to try for my first false albacore on the fly.


Bob Lewis Cape Cod FlyroddersThe thought was to fish tomorrow after my work was done.  But rain started today and the forecast for tomorrow looks intimidating.  They’re calling for some big wind to go with the rain.  With the fear of not getting out tomorrow, Bob suggested fishing for a few hours this morning before my seminar.


fly fishing for striped bass with Rick WilstermanJoining us this morning was my friend Rick Wilsterman.  Rick and Bob hardly know each other so it was nice for Bob to invite him along.  We picked Rick up at the Osterville dock and off we went under threatening skies and drizzle.





false albacore artwork by Jeff Currier

Cape Cod is a beautiful part of the East Coast.  Today didn’t exactly show that with the dreary skies and soon heavy rain.  It’s also great fishing however most traveling saltwater fly fishers, including myself, go mostly to warmwater flats destinations.  But I can assure you this is a worthy area to fly fish for stripers, bluefish, false albacore and more.


fly fishing off the jetty in Cape CodWe made first cast before 6 AM.  Bob had Rick and I toss some poppers at a few of his striped bass spots as we left the estuary.  There were no participants and eventually we headed towards Hyannis to the hot spot where Bob has seen schools of false albacore.  We passed some anglers fly fishing off a jetty as we hit the ocean.


false albacoreIt wasn’t hard to tell when we reached the false albacore grounds.  There were a heap of boats.  Everyone had an angler casting from the bow.  There was an even mix of fly fishers and spin casters.  Best of all there were schools of false albacore busting everywhere under birds!


false albacore fly patternsI fished my new Winston Saltwater Air 9’ 8-weight with a Scientific Anglers Sonar intermediate line.  Bob gave us small minnow patterns to strip.  Despite the false albacore averaging about 6lbs the flies are tiny.  The idea is to get your fly on the breaking fish.  In order to do this means chasing them down with the boat every chance you get.


Jeff Currier fly fishing for false albacoreIt didn’t take long to hook up.  On literally my third cast I was on.  The iridescent blue fish took off at the speed of sound – something they’re famous for.  I cleared the line and hung on tight.  The line sizzled off and about 25 yds of backing followed.  It was textbook false albacore fishing!


Jeff Currier false albacoreFalse albacore are the perfect fly rod fish.  They fight hard but not for too long like some of their larger cousins.  After a few wicked runs I had my albacore to the side of the boat.  Bob snatched the small tuna by the tail and we clicked off a few photos.  New species on the fly!





saltwater fly fishingThe next false albie didn’t come as easy.  Bob put Rick and I on school after school over the next 45 minutes.  Its normal that the false albacore are finicky eaters and this time it showed.  Worst of all when I finally hooked up again, while clearing my line I got tangled around the butt of the rod.  It’s a rookie mistake to have happen but it happens to the best of us.


albacore on the fly rodBy miracle, despite going tight on the fish in such a tangled mess, the albie didn’t break me off.  Rather than making a second mistake of letting the fish pull my rod tip down and ending up straight towards him which leads to instant break off, I was able to keep the rod bent.  A bent 8-weight absorbs a lot of torque and sure enough the fish turned and I was able to unravel the near disaster.  This is also one heck of an endorsement to 20lb Scientific Anglers Fluorocarbon!


Winston Rods, Scientific Angler Fly Line, Bauer Fly Reels and Jeff CurrierTime was running out for our morning adventure after the second albie.  The plan was to head in at 8:30 to get ready for my full day seminar.  But you know how it goes.  We pushed the time envelope because the fish continued busting.  I racked up a third at 8:45. Lucky for us the albies finally went deep and it was easy for us to reel it in.


Rick Wilsterman striped bass fishingUse the words “reel it in” lightly.  We got back to Bobs boat slip a few minutes after 9 AM.  Nearby is a grassy bank where he occasionally catches striped bass.  What’s another few minutes, right?  Bob took us here for several casts and Rick stuck this nice schoolie striper.  Then we were done.


false albie fishingI had a great day with the Cape Cod Flyrodders.  I customized a class on how to pack for an international fly fishing trip to the flats.  We did some advanced casting outside in the wind.  This evening at a nice restaurant in Hyannis I demonstrated saltwater knots and delivered “Tricks and Tactics for the Worlds Best Flats”.  It was a fantastic day and tomorrow Bob is taking Granny and I out for another crack weather permitting.


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!