How to catch albies from shore

Learn how to target albies from the shore on Long Island, New York


Sergio Diaz

8/29/20214 min read

How to catch albiesHow to catch albies

Time to start thinking about albies... again.

For us fly fishing anglers living on Long Island, there is no other inshore fish as exciting as the false albacore. Albies are beautiful, fast and powerful fish that will give you lightning fast runs and get you into your backing before you know it, something you won't get from a striped bass or bluefish.

Albies visit our beaches and inlets sometime in mid to late September and will stay for a few weeks, sometimes they'll leave in early October or stick around as late as mid November.

Altogether, albie fishing can be frustrating or amazingly rewarding, they can be scarce and hard to find or plentiful feeding in huge schools, easy to catch or impossible to fool.

But if you want the ultimate challenge in fly fishing, you'll want to try and catch them from shore. Catching albies from shore it's not always easy and can be very frustrating, but when you do it's the ultimate fly angler reward.

So how do we catch these fish? In September you'll want to head out and start scouting the beaches and inlets that usually hold these fish.

Every year is different but albies can be found in the Long Island north fork beaches and south shore inlets: Rockaway, Jones, Fire Island, Moriches, Shinnecock and Montauk inlet.

Where to fly fish for albies on long island
Where to fly fish for albies on long island

Signs of albies include birds working, bait balls and fish breaking the surface. Keep in mind albies spend most of the time underwater going up and down the beach working the water column corralling bait fish, so just because you don't see them on top it doesn't mean they're not there. Blind casting an area that albies have been feeding in often produces fish


I use 9ft long fly rods between 8 and 10 weights with intermediate line although sinking line is also effective in deeper water or jetties. I use at least a 9 foot long fluorocarbon leader between 15 and 20lbs. Albies can be leader shy, especially in early season so if you're not getting strikes you might want to go with a lighter leader until you connect with your fish.

I always start my season using a pink UV resin minnow, it's a low profile fly it's easy to cast that mimics bait fish. But there are a lot of other well-known flies that are just as effective like the albie whore the bonito bunny or the crease fly.  I always tie my albie flies using a loop knot because if allows the flies to swim and swim much better than others.

Best flies for false albacore
Best flies for false albacore

When we find breaking fish you want to make as few false casts as possible to get in the water right away. Albies will show up and be gone in seconds so you want to be ready to put the fly in their faces so they can eat.

Casting to albies from shore
Casting to albies from shore
Albies from shore
Albies from shore

Once in the water, you'll  want to retrieve your fly as fast as you can and the fastest method to do that is a double-handed retrieve. Tuck your fly rod under your arm and do a fast retrieve and get ready for the strike.

By the way, using a stripping basket is almost a must. If you are fishing the surf or jetty and lay your line on the beach or rocks, your chances of making a good cast without knots or getting snagged are slim. So make sure you pack a stripping basket that you can comfortably attach to your waist.

When you feel the fish strike, set the hook and control your line, the fish is going to take off right away or he may keep coming at you until he realizes he's hooked and if you don't manage your line what's going to happen is once he takes off there's going to be a whole lot of fly line trying to go out through your guides at once, your leader will break and lose the fish.

deep into fly reel backing
deep into fly reel backing

Once your line clears the guides and the fish is running, don't try to stop him because you'll break him off, rather enjoy the run, part of the fun of catching albies are those lighting fast runs they give you. Shortly after that he'll get tired and stop running and that's when you'll start bringing him in to land him. As always with catch and release, try to get your fish back in the as fast as you can to give him the best chance to fully recover.

Our season is short but when you make the most of it, it's the most wonderful time of the year!

The following video is for anglers new to targeting albies or experienced anglers who have yet to try fly fishing albies from shore. If you have any questions please let me know.

Happy albie season and tight lines!

- Sergio

For more fishing follow me on Instagram @sergiodiazfishing