Albacore has been long regarded as one of the best table fish worldwide. To catch these beautiful fish there are a few lure tips you need to know. Albacore isn't a fussy type of fish, however there are a few lures that will increase your chance of a bite significantly. There are many more than five lures that will be effective for catching albacore, but I'm just going to discuss these top five here today.Albacore are surface-feeders for the majority of their feeding time, however they can be found all the way down the water column. Given this, it is important that you have a range of lures on you when targeting these fish, in case their moods suddenly change.
1. Small Tuna Feather Lures
From experience, I have found these to be irresistible to albacore. These lures are with a pre-rigged bullet head and have a group of feathers trailing behind it, with a hook hidden amongst it. Trolling is the most effective method to use this kind of lure, with a speed between 5 - 9 knots being optimum, unless smooth conditions allow for a faster speed. If you were to reel these in by hand you'd have to do it at a relatively fast pace to get the right kind of action and movement. I have no preference for colour but by chance all of my ones in my collection are quite bright in colour, and they seem to work great. For the most part, if you put these on a 15 - 30 pound line and the fish are there, you'll be on a fish very quickly.
2. Bibbed Minnow Lures
These lures have been the best for me when the fish a little deeper than the feather lures can reach. Their bib allows them to dive down to depths up to 10m, but most brands offer the same lures with multiple depth ranges. Make sure you take several lures with different depth ranges, you don't want to be stuck without a working lure when the fish are at a certain depth. The bib and design of these lures also enables them to mimic the movements of a distressed bait fish. For albacore, you should be looking at bibbed minnows around the 4 inch mark. They can be either trolled or reeled in by hand, I find that by reeling them in you're able to put more action into them and increase your catch rate. If you were to troll them, you should travel at around 4 - 8 knots. Again, these work a treat on a 15 - 30 pound line, attached by any kind of loop know, allowing the tow point to move freely.
3. Metal Spoon Lures
Metal spoon lures are effective on overcast or rough days. The lack of visibility in the water is countered by the reflective and rapid moving nature of these lures. To get these spoons to the right depth you can do two things:
- Choose a weighted spoon: the heavier the lure the deeper it will go. To use this method you should have fairly good knowledge of the area you're fishing and have a rough idea of where the fish are.
- Use a downrigger: using a downrigger will allow you to set and adjust the lure at any depth you want, allowing for some trial and error. This method can also be used for the two lures listed above.
These lures come in a wide range of colours; anything from pink or fluro green to just plain silver. I believe that depending on the conditions, different colours to have different effects for this type of lure. On a clear day, I'd normally go with a plain silver or dull brown or green, while on overcast days I'd use something more visible, such as the bright pink. Colours aside, this lure will often get a whole school chasing it, it creates some seriously exciting fishing!
4. Skirted Lures
Skirted lures are very similar to feather lures, but I feel they must get a mention. Instead of the feathery tail it has a more rubbery tail. Skirted lures can be used on their own, for this I'd recommend a size of about 20cm. This might seem big, but an albacore can get pretty greedy at times. Skirted lures can also be used in conjunction with spinners. Attaching a skirt to a spinner is a very effective method of fishing in poor conditions. The spinning, distressed movement of the lure will grab the attention of any fish nearby, while the skirt will entice a bite. These lures are definitely best when trolled and can also be used with a downrigger.
5. Rubber Squid Lures
While I don't believe these lures are as good as a live squid, they can have some pretty impressive results. Rubber squids are exactly what they say they are, a rubber squid. They are fished manually with a rod and reel, dropping the line over the side and slowly jigging the lure down and then back up will generally do the trick. This is an effective method of accessing the entire water column if you don't have a downrigger available. To rig these up, the hook should go through the head of the squid and come out amongst its tentacles, it should end up looking much like a skirted lure, the only difference being that the squid look more natural but make less of a commotion in the water, making them less noticeable to the fish.
Any of these lures will nearly always get you a fish (if the fish are there to be had) but that is my order of preference. Make sure you take a few of these types out with, you never know when the fish might decide to go down deeper. These lures have worked time and time again for me but if you feel like I've missed one or have forgotten to mention something, please leave a comment below, I'd love to know!