Expert Tips to Help You Catch Some Albacore
What They Look Like
Albacores are generally caught at a weight between 5 and 15kg, but can grow to up to 40kg. Recognisable features of this fish include its colours, fins and tail. Albacores have silvery sides and belly with a black back and grayish yellow fins. Their pectoral fins are extremely long, sometimes up to 1/3 of the entire length of the fish, and they have sharp spikes along their tail.
Where They Are
Albacores live, for the most part, less than 10 miles offshore. To locate them more accurately, do a quick Google search to find out where local thermoclines are. These thermoclines are the boundaries between warm water and cooler, deeper water and this is where Albacores generally feed.
To find schools of fish when you are already out, look for large bait balls or flocks of birds. Albacores are surface-feeders, meaning they will push the bait to the top which will bring a lot of visible activity to look out for.
When to Fish
The best times to fish for Albacore is when the water temperature is warmest. Different conditions don't tend to make a difference in catch-rates but this is only the case if you adjust your bait and technique to suit, which I'll discuss later in this article.
Fresh or live bait is best for drifting, but lures can be effective at times too. Either way, it is important to set a berley trail once you find the fish. An effective berley trail is the 'pilchard cube trail'. This trail is extremely simple to make, just chop a few pilchards into 2x2cm cubes and drop them into the water regularly, this will attract more fish to the boat and make them more aggressive.
Once you have set your berley trail, put one of your baits on the hook, generally the bait can be presented in three ways:
Albacores can be found at any depth in the water column at any given time. Given this it is important that you present several baits at different depths. This will significantly raise the chance of a fish coming across your bait.
Note: If the wind and/or currents are too strong for drifting to be successful, a sea anchor can be used to keep you above the fish.
Trolling for albacore is a very effective way of catching these pelagic fish. For trolling, lures work best. Not only do they have a much lower rate of falling or getting picked off, but they have a higher strike rate. The best lures to use when trolling for albacore are soft plastic swim baits, small tuna feather lures, minnow lures, small spoon lures, hex head skirted lures and rubber squid lures. See here for more details as to how to use these lures when fishing for albacore.
- Live yellowtail (yakkas)
- Slimy mackeral
Make sure the bait is as fresh as possible, preferably caught that day. Present it as natural as possible or in thin finger strips. While using these baits it is important to leave a trail of berley, this can be small chunks of pilchard or other bait fish.
Soft plastic swim baits
Deep running iron jigs
Small tuna feather lures
Small spoon lures
Hex head skirted lures
Rubber squid lures
For more information on the top lures for albacore, check out my dedicated article here.
Any rod capable of handling a 15kg fish will be sufficient. Due to the style of fishing, where no casting is required, it is really only strength for trolling and battling that is needed.
A strong overhead or threadline reel will do the job just fine. Make sure you set the drag to smooth to ensure the line doesn’t snap on the fish’s initial burst.
6-15kg line, a lighter line may be needed in clearer conditions or if you want more of a challenge. Remember, the lighter you line is the less chance the fish will see it is.
As you can see, there are plenty of factors are required to have the best chance of catching albacore, but if you follow this guide and do a little research about your local area, you're chances will greatly improve.