An excellent game fish and also an important commercial catch, the albacore is one of the most prized tuna in the United States. The albacore has the standard tuna body but is set off from other members of the family by very elongated pectoral fins that reach the dorsal finlets. The first dorsal fin is deep yellow, the anal and second dorsal fins are light yellow, the finlets are dark gray and the caudal fin is gray with white borders.
Albacore tend to prefer temperature “edges” where cooler and warmer waters meet. Fly fishing for albacore is most often done off the coasts of California and Mexico. Albacore are known for violent strikes and long runs. They’re popular with light tackle anglers and can be pursued with the fly rod if the conditions are right and the albacore are feeding on small baitfish close to the surface. Many fly anglers will use a chum slick to bring the fish to within casting range.
Albacore are found in tropical through temperate waters. They’re rarely found close to shore and prefer deep open water.
Albacore are found throughout the tropical and temperate oceans of the world and make occasional forays into colder areas like New England and the South Atlantic off the coast of Brazil. In the Pacific, they can occasionally be found as far north as Alaska. They are known for a yearly migration between Asia and North America.