Jigging and Trolling Soft Baits for Albies at the Hooter
When bonito and false albacore are known to be in an area but are not showing on the surface, this is a fantastic technique. Many experienced anglers always begin their albie and bonito trips this way, switching to casting if fish are sighted. If “run and gun” isn’t your style, this can be a great way to hook up even when there ARE fish feeding on top!
Light Tackle Trolling for False Albies
The hooter is the last shoal between Nantucket sound and the Atlantic Ocean. I recommend using a Hogy 7-inch Original with a 5/0 weighted Swim Bait Hook when targeting false albies in this area.
You’re going to want to jig this bait while you’re trolling, making this a very hands-on method as compared to just sticking a swimming plug in the holder. A lot of people love that it’s so hands-on because they can feel the hit of the fish.
I tend to keep a pre-measured length of lead core on my spool, about 125-feet of it, because at the end of the pre-measured amount, I have 40lb. test braid which allows me to take the boat out of gear and drop back. It’s important to always know how much line is behind you before you engage.
I normally change RPM’s quite a bit when I am trolling but you always want to start slow and gradually increase your trolling speed when performing this method. We’re going to start at about 5 mph, bring the speed up and slow the speed down while we are dialing in on the magic code for these albies. Consider the strength of the current when you’re choosing a trolling speed.
While I’m trolling, I have one hand holding the butt and the other hand in front of the reel. And I’m just twitching it, it’s really going to make that bait dance. When you get a hit, you’ll know for sure. They’ll take a lot of line at first so just let them run. You don’t necessarily need to set the hook between the movement of the boat and the hit from the fish, especially with their soft mouths. I don’t recommend it with this method.
You can put it in the holder but it works much better when you’re trolling and jigging. They’re strong fish so you want to be ready to crank down on the line, especially when they swim at you.
One nice thing about these soft baits and these single hooks, it’s really easy for a safe release opposed to the trolling plugs.
Boat: Pathfinder 23dv
Rod: 8′ Musky Rod
Reel: Avet JX
Line: Cortland LC13 Fast Sinking Line
Leader: 10ft of 40lb Flouro
Bait: 7″ Hogy Original in amber color. Tied direct with a loop knot.