15 Minutes with Capt. Jim Barr
Here’s what we learned…
Location: Near shore waters from Sakonnet Point, Rhode Island to Fishers Island, New York.
Tides: Moving water helps but is not key, but primarily ebbing tides, however individual preferences vary depending on the location, tide stage, time of day and moon stage.
Approach: Locating fish is primarily visual in this fishery, however good searching baits can be where no fish are evident. Looking for signs of breaking fish, surface bird activity and using sonar to mark fish and bait pods makes quick work in getting a bite.
Why this bait? Half of my charters are fly fishing where matching the bait and attractor patterns are key. For my light tackle angling matching forage is oftentimes key if fish are focused on one predominant bait. Albies can be opportunistic feeders, they may be crashing through bait balls of Bay Anchovy and Peanut Bunker, however they will oftentimes break from their routine feeding habits, chase down and slash at the larger plastic and sometimes hard baits. Recently, on the Jamestown, RI south shore ledges the high tide was slack, but southeast winds were piling up a very high shore break, that would climb five to six feet onto the ledge face. Very rough white water would then cascade down the cliffs to the base and then recede into a mix of white/green highly oxygenated water.. False Albacore had bait pinned to the cliff face, ripping through it, and frequently showing us full profiles. My clients were initially casting metals and surface plugs into the turbulent waters as the Albies pushed bait airborne. Nothing was working. I re-positioned the boat to give us approximately 100 feet of water to allow for a cast to the base of the cliff and a lightning fast retrieve with an unweighted 7” pink Hogy Original. As the baits were retrieved out of the white water into the clear water- we could see the Albies emerge and run down the highly visible Hogy Original. No missed strikes with the large gape of the 5/0 Swim Bait and with the spring hook keeper, baits stayed completely secured.
Colors: Bubblegum, Amber, Silver and Bone are all great colors. I prefer Bubblegum in most water conditions.
Retrieve: For False Albacore I use a very fast, top water retrieve. For Stripers I use a slower, undulating retrieve.
Rod: Most spinning rods are medium to heavy action, in 7-8 foot lengths. I use primarily Offshore Angler (Bass Pro) spinning and bait casting rods.
Reel: Shimano Saragosa’s, Quantum Cabo PT’s and Smoke PT’s , and Penn Spinfisher V’s
Line: A mix of Ande Backcountry and Berkley Trilene Big Game monofilament, and Bass Pro XPS-8 Advanced Braid
Leader: Offshore Angler Extreme Fluorocarbon Saltwater Leader