Pro Talk: Casting to Finicky Topwater Albies with the Hogy Epoxy Jig Lures
Posted by Jamie Costa on
Capt. Chris Killenberg
Targeted Species: Albies + Bonito
Location: Westport, Massachusetts
Capt. Parker Mauck and Capt. Chris Killenberg both operate Westport Fly together. Launching via the Westport State Boat Ramp, their fishing grounds range from Rhode Island through Buzzard’s Bay, the Elizabeth Islands, Vineyard Sound and up towards New Bedford and Fairhaven. Since they are both licensed in MA and RI, they have access to a lot of areas and fisheries.
Tides: Every area they fish is tide dependent and every area they fish changes with the different tides, depending on structure and location. The moving water and the fish’s ability to focus and concentrate on bait fish has an impact on the degree of activity you tend to see. Certain locations fish better on the outgoing tide whereas some locations fish better on the incoming tide. Due to the wide range of mobility Capt. Parker has, when the tide changes, he’s able to head to another location if they stop showing in one of his spots.
Approach: The easiest way to find fish is to look for birds or topwater activity. This is the most common way most anglers rely on finding bonito and false albacores. Another way Capt. Parker finds these fish is by returning to familiar areas where certain structures are worth fishing and exploring, even if you don’t see fish or birds on the surface.
“There are a significant number of fish that are caught annually without seeing birds or surface activity,” Capt. Parker said. “There’s always some feeding down below that you can’t see.”
Rigging/Lure Selection: Hogy Epoxy Jig Lures. There is not one specific size or color that Capt. Parker recommends as he experiments with them all depending on what seems to be working in terms of size, profile, and coloration.
"Lately we have been experimenting with an epoxy jig with the hook removed, tide to a fly with about 24 inches of fluorocarbon," Capt. Parker said. "The epoxy jig seems to get their attention and give you good casting distance, but they can be more comfortable hitting a smaller fly."
Why This Bait? Capt. Parker has found that the combination of colors and sizes help him to match the bait in the area the most efficiently. For example, bonito like bigger bait than false albacores but the false albacores change what they’re keyed in on daily. One day, they’ll want pink in one size and the next day, they’ll want amber the next size up. The wide range of Epoxy Jig color and sizes offer a wide range to choose from to match the baits in the area, can be both cast and jigged and are very durable. They're especially good on windy days beacuse they cast so well in the wind.
Colors: Amber, pink and bone
Retrieve: Although blind casting produces fish, there are a few techniques Capt. Parker finds the most effective when you’re on obvious, visible, surface feeding false albies.
- Cast out and reel as quickly as you can (fast retrieve) around the perimeter of the school that is keyed in on a bait ball
- Dead drift! Cast out at active schools of feeding fish and let the lure flutter down. Albies most often hit on the drop while using this technique.
- Keep casting, even after the blitz has stopped. Often, fish are actively picking off the bait that just got injured, disoriented or separated from the school during the blitz.
- Above all, experiment. That is what makes it fun.
Rod: Tica Fishing and Temple Fork Outfitters (TFO) rods, both light/medium and both 7’
Reel: Stradic Shimano and Clash Penn
Line: 10-15lb braid
Leader: 10-20lb fluoro tied with an Albright knot. 3-5 feet depending on how finicky the fish are.
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- Tags: Buzzard's Bay, Cape Cod, Cape Cod Bay, Casting, Epoxy Jig Lures, False Albacore, Rhode Island, Vineyard Sound