Now that Albie season is pretty much, most likely, but possibly not, over...I wanted to sit down and give you all a summary of the second half of Albie season. I did post a report back in mid October covering the first half of the season, so jump back one post if you want to read about that. The final 5-6 weeks of the season were extremely busy for me, and I didn't get to post any blog reports along the way...so this might be a long one.
Back when I first started chasing Albies on fly about 16 years ago, the season really didn't start until mid October, got good around Halloween and peaked towards Thanksgiving. At least that's how I remember it. The last few years, the last week of September has been really good, October on fire, and the fish leave somewhere between the middle and end of November.
This year the fishing was pretty good (with moments of greatness) through November 4th. Then we had a few summer-like days when the Albies were in a really bad mood and didn't show, so we went off chasing other fish. Then a few days later Hurricane Nicole (yes, in November!) came across Florida and made her way into the Carolinas as a Tropical Storm. Rain, 40mph North winds and giant South swells kept all of us off the water for a few days, and left us with very dirty water when we returned. We had one Albie-less day, and then they returned the following day on November 15th. And when I say they returned, I mean there was a square mile of busting Albies, everything changed overnight. The following morning they showed up in pretty good numbers, everyone caught a few, and then they vanished 30 minutes after they arrived. What followed was several days of seeing how many miles we could cover and how much fuel we could burn to find Albies. Don't get me wrong, we found other species to catch, Bluefish, Trout, Jacks, but the Albies just didn't want to come to the party. Thankfully, there are options in the ocean in November so we took full advantage of the plethora of other species. Finally, on the day before Thanksgiving, the Albies showed back up for a few hours that morning and made our anglers happy. Then on Thanksgiving day, the Albacore feasted all down the banks of Cape Lookout. And that just might have been their last hurrah of 2022. Then again, they could show right back up this week and rage once more...
I booked 65 days out of a 66 day stretch this year. And for that I owe you all a huge thank you. We had a couple cancellations/reschedules due to the weather, but overall it was an extremely good run for me. I had a great time sharing my boat with all of my anglers and I really enjoyed being around the other guides and anglers and watching their success this season. It's a great community and I am lucky to be a part of it.
As a photographer, I really like taking pics of my anglers and everthing else happening around us during the Fall season. I narrowed it down to 86 images from our second half of the season to share with you. If you came fishing with me for Albies or any of the other wonderful nearshore opportunities we have, then you just might find yourself in some of these images. And if you didn't come this year, you might want to consider coming in 2023 and being a part of the excitement that is Albie season. Anglers are already booking dates for next fall a whole year in advance (I feel like I've finally made it after 11 years of guiding!) so don't wait too late if you want to get a good date. Hope you enjoye the pics and thank you all so much for the support!!!
How to properly stretch a fly line.
Pretty weather day before it started to feel like Fall.
Like father like son.
Eyes on the prize.
Foggy morning and raging Albies.
First Albie for a very hard core angler! Don't mess with her, she will out-fish you.
On the days when it was too pretty for the Albies, we went looking for other targets.
No need to hit the gym after catching a few Amberjack.
I got a few firsts for me this year, like this Vermillion Snapper...makes my dorky biologist self happy!
You never know what you'll pull up from our wrecks and reefs, like this Porgy.
Doubled over in the fog.
Two for the price of one...
Albies are tackle testers.
Dane flew in from Ohio, and the fishing did not disappoint.
Plenty of Speckled Trout around the second half of November.
Always fun when the schools move into the "Hook".
Worth the trip up to NC!
Happy Angler = Happy Guide.
Couldn't believe we found baby Jacks all the way up to Thanksgiving.
That red buoy was the place to be for several days this season.
Flexing 10wts. These fish don't play around.
Nice Grey on fly.
Cold and choppy, and that's exactly how the Albies prefer it.
Going to battle with a fish that doesn't like to give up.
Hooked up at first light.
Another first...but just one of many for Victoria.
Good job Terry...put the heat on 'em.
Steve comes from Canada every Fall to chase Albies with me...I think this was year 5 or 6.
Black Drum was a nice surprise at the Cape this Fall.
Hey Brian, if you are reading this, I really really appreciate all your support over the years!
Grandfather - Granddaughter fishing team.
I love seeing the pure joy on an angler's face when an Albie makes that first run.
Sometimes the look on the angler's face, is one of pure panic, I love seeing that too.
Yes, blitzing Moonfish are a thing.
I need to do more of this, y'all want to give it a try next summer, let me know.
One day we found a never-ending school of puppies.
In case I forgot to mention...we caught a few Albies this year.
I guess that about sums it up for our Fall nearshore season. Believe it or not, I've also been hitting the marsh about once a week through the Fall sightfishing Redfish. The winter fishery is shaping up really nicely, and I'll make a post about that real soon. If you'd like to come sightfish Winter Reds over the next few months, get a jump on next years Albie season, or get on the calendar for anything else I'd love to talk to you about it. Thanks so much! John