Elusive Albies

October 19 – Thursday – Northport – 

I had a doctor appointment early so I was thinking I’d go out but didn’t know if I needed to be here for Sue. Turns out she had a lunch and assured me I could go and not worry about what time I got back.

I have been obsessed with two things lately: one is the reported Albie sightings in the Triangle and off Asharoken and second is towing the dinghy to the harbor to collect some of those lost lures – both mine and Gary’s. Inexplicable is the fact that one is as pressing on my brain as the other.

Towing the dink would be a drag, literally, slow going.  The one area is out of the water at low tide and my plan would be to drop anchor, row in and search for lures, then head to the brush pile that ate Gary’s new lure. Could be a banner day for lure collecting – but maybe not. It’s always a gamble.

I decided to go fishing instead. 

It is sunny with blue skies and 10 mile plus visibility.  Winds are strong but I figure I could see the birds working and zero in on those Albies. The tide will be high at noon so I can fish the last of the incoming and then the outgoing.

I stop at the wall and throw the blue Gag’s Grabber and something follows it, not once – 2 or 3 times, but doesn’t bite.  I am reeling it very slowly with an occasional pop and stop. Then I try a fast retrieve. Still nothing. Gave it a rest and repeated. Could it be the color?  I switch to the bunker colored one and soon have a little striper in the boat.  I continue to work the area as the tide peaks but no more.

Next was the Albie hunt.

Generally you just look for birds and the rest takes care of itself.  It is blowing and some white caps are on the bay and certainly in the Sound.  I cover the east side of Lloyd Neck trolling top and diving plugs.  I am not big on trolling but when looking for Albies you can either go slow and hope they come up or go fast, covering a large area, to catch them in the act.  I chose the former as pounding the waves can be brutal on the body.

I left Lloyd and went to the OB Buoy, dropped a diamond jig even though there is nothing on the screen. “Deep water” everyone is saying.  It is 80 feet here. Deep enough? Had to put on a heavier one.  Drifted again. Not having fun. Went back to dragging a popper and headed for Buoy 13. Then to the east side of Asharoken.  A few boats are around but they are all stationary. Albie boats would be running and gunning.

I see a few birds sitting on the water and simultaneously a center console pulls toward them, the operator killing the engine and moving to the bow with a rod.  Possible sign of a sighting. I turn to parallel him, some distance between us, and the birds take off and start behaving erratically.

They come toward my position and then a few swirls and breaks in the water. I throw an epoxy minnow and retrieve as fast as I can.  They have already moved.  I throw it again, they move again. The birds lose interest and the signs disappear.  I wait, as does my brother Albie hunter. They don’t come back.

I wait a good while and then move toward Heather’s Wall where two boats are anchored next to each other and chatting. I bring in the troll and throw the top water plug toward the rocks but the wind takes me out too far, too fast. I re-position once and then remember I am looking for Albies. 

I make a wide circle around the Lilco platform going at least half way to Connecticut knowing they can be in deep water and it is, 102 feet. Back to the west, over the Triangle, back to Target Rock.  Nothing. No birds, no bait, no Albies except for the brief glance earlier. My only fish the little striper. (The photo above was in Montauk a few years back. You can read about it in Letters to Mack 2, Correspondence from Montana to Montauk)

A beautiful day.

He liked the green one