Albacore

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    Posted: 23 Sep 2002 at 10:12pm
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Titanium
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Location: Hamilton
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Albacore - a fish I love to eat. Fishing west coast. My first albert hunting was in Jan 96 off Kawhia. That day there were albacore for Asia. Went out with my lads and trolled 4 rods plus the skipper put out 2 handlines. We pulled in the handlines as we had all 6 lures kept getting hit. All the lures were 4 inch Draper Sea Ferrets, different colours and the handlines were tuna clones. Whatever lure was in the water it got hit.                                                  1997, the albies were more selective but still plentiful.                               1998 they would only take small Zucker zuchinnis or something very similar. Less fish this year.                                                                                     1999 we tried the Zukers and small silver head Williamsons, pink/purple and yellow/green. The albies would go for the yellow/green Williamson (very ocassionally the Zuker) while skippies would take the pink/purple. You knew what sort of tuna right away.                                                                          2000 was again the year for the y/g Williamson but skippies took it this year too. Numbers were down.                                                                           Last summer we never had much opportunity but got some coke bottle albies out from Whakatane. What albies we got off Raglan were again on the y/g Williamson but this time were mixed in with skippies. In all our outings, we have never had many clues, such as birds or bait schools on the sounder to find the fish. Strikes came out of the blue. We've run cedar plugs and bibbed minnows but have never had any fish on them, by far the most on my VIP/Calcutta with 6 kg braid - gives good action to the lures.

So, two questions:-

  • Does anyone else notice a decline in albacore numbers.
  • How can I improve my catch-rate. how do I find them, when's the best time, what lures work for you.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote John Campbell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Sep 2002 at 4:51pm
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Roy,

Albacore in decline: Don't know but my experience out of Whakatane is that when I first started fishing offshore 93/94 there were truckloads. I used to get the hell out of it as they would take everything and become a bit of a pain. These days I am pleased to see them! From about '96 they have not been as numerous. Last season as you say there were a lot 'coke bottles'.

Early and late season seem to be the best times. Winter runs out of Whakane occur but I have not targetted these. My understanding is that these runs are not like they used to be. Small numbers (some years very small numbers) each year are picked up by the charter boats travelling to and from the grounds out to White & Ranfurly on winter Hapuka/Grouper trips.

Lures: As I have stated previously I like the sevenstrand tuna clones. Zucchini is great as is the black purple ones. I have caught some on cedar plugs but I would not go overboard on these. Could not keep them off a Bart Miller pro jet (small) dressed in lumo. Also the Uzis are good...any colour will do! Which about says it all cause I think if the abies are there they will pretty much take what you put out. If not it is not difficult to find something they like. I have had small ones take spreader bars 10 times larger than they and  also caught them on 10 to 12" lures. If I really had to pick something it would be a small lumo lure though.

How to find them. Well we just found them, or the fleet found them first. They are where the action is generally. Birds, bait, temp changes (like cooler temps rather than warmer) etc.  Does not have to be a lot of action from birds etc though, just the need for the area to look fishy & if albies are in attendance then they are on. If I were to go out to specifically target them (you may have to travel some miles if searching from scratch) I think I would look at cooler side of temp breaks and have some lures down deeper for bigger fish. If you come across a pocket of smaller albies on the lures dropping a jig may pick up a larger one down deep, something I would try anyway as it does work on YFT sometimes.

I am not sure I have added anything to what you already know Roy but this has been my experience as it relates to your questions.

Cheers

John

 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Matt B Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Sep 2002 at 2:00pm
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Fishb8,

Coming from Wellington, most of our albacore experience comes from Cook Strait, although we have fished out of the BOP aswell.  Albies in Cook Strait are a bit of a hit and miss affair, with the water being fairly frigid year round.

However, when they are here, we have found that plain cedar plugs are very effective, and are my lure of choice for Cook Strait.  When up in BOP (2001/02 summer), we found that we have by far the most success for albies on Zuker zucchinis.  We ran mackeral maulers, cedar plugs, zukers, and boone lures, but 80% of hits were on the Zuker zucchini's.  (this caused fights over who got to use them..... but that's another story.

As far as finding them is concerned, we have used gannets and dolphins to much success.  I know Albies aren't supposed to swim with dolphins, but we have not managed to catch albies in Cook Strait if we can't see Dolphins (not for lack of trying).  We found that following the gannets when they are feeding and looking for dolphins was a good way to track them down in BOP too.  If the gannets weren't up to anytthing much, neither were the fish.

Hope this is of some use.

Matt B

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