A Texas Blitz

There’s an inedible bullet-shaped fish in the Gulf that has been cursed by offshore fishermen for as long as anyone can remember. Like most Texans I’ve always called them bonito, but on a recent trip to North Carolina I learned that they’re not an actual bonito, which is more closely related to the mackerels. These slippery torpedoes with vermicular racing stripes are hated in Texas for their tendency to pester those trolling for something to eat; but to set the record straight and give them their due, I’m now calling them what they are: false albacore.

Fly-eating, hard-pulling, drag-ripping, fun-as-hell false albacore.

Last week I joined up with Aldo Dyer and Don Jones on a gorgeous slick morning on the Texas Coast. What we found would make any fly caster from the Northeast go weak in the knees. Of course they also get jiggly for striped bass and bluefish, but the promise of breaking “albies” stokes a certain fire. From daybreak until the winds finally kicked up, we motored from one writhing baitball to the next and caught false albacore until we were sick of them. Mixed in with the albies were herds of Spanish mackerel, squadrons of jacks up to thirty pounds, and enough sharks to keep me dry above the wrists when I was using the underwater rig.

From my limited knowledge of baitfish species, it appeared that the panicked victims were dusky anchovies, which typically migrate past our beaches in the fall. They were using the safety in numbers technique but still dying by the thousands. From below they were pushed to the surface, packed into quivering orbs, and consumed in frantic gulps. From above they were picked off by squawking gulls, hovering terns, and diving pelicans.

Lions versus Christians. Sitting Bull versus Custer. Bob Stoops versus Mack Brown. It was max carnage. And we had great seats.

Click here to see the rest of the shoot.

Skint back and looking

The give away

Dusky anchovies wishing they were someplace else

Don Jones working the ball

Not a bonito, per se

Macro panic

Aldo Dyer clearing string

Spanish mackerel and his dinner

Built for speed

The food chain

These pull hard

Local thug

10 Responses to “A Texas Blitz”

  1. BobWhite says:

    You and your work never fail to amaze me, Tosh. Keep rockin’ it!

  2. Mike Sepelak says:

    Great shots! Whet’s my appetite for Friday when I head out for some east coast albies of my own. Diving birds and busted bait balls. Bring it on.

  3. robin hill says:

    Being an northeastener, I love everything about albie fishing; the bait balls, diving birds and the mayhem that accompanies it. The only thing I don’t like are the rude fisherman that congregate alongside one of natures great migrations. Looks like you guys had it all to yourselves and I wish I were with ya.

    • Tosh says:

      I hear you Robin. Most folks down here are fishing for something to eat. That’s why I was quick to point out that albie (buh-nee-ter) flesh looks and tastes like catfish bait.

  4. PastorBen says:

    Wow. Some very powerful images….great work….

  5. […] We’ve been duck hunting mostly until 2 weeks ago. Summer and fall fishing season closed out awesome – I think I sent you the Tosh Brown photos, if not here they are: http://toshbrown.com/2012/10/a-texas-blitz/ […]

  6. […] We’ve been duck hunting mostly until 2 weeks ago. Summer and fall fishing season closed out awesome – I think I sent you the Tosh Brown photos, if not here they are: http://toshbrown.com/2012/10/a-texas-blitz/ […]

Leave a Reply