Anglers up and down the coast of both Carolinas are having a field day with bull redfish, but other fish are contributing to the fun as well, and sometimes they are doing it with a surprise. Such was the case yesterday for Capt. Rod Thomas at the Georgetown jetties.

Thomas (336-240-5649), of Capt. Ponytail Guide Service, and a guest were anchored down and catching plenty of big redfish in the 40- to 45-inch range when he noticed birds diving all around him as fish hit the surface in pods surrounding and approaching his boat. The anglers couldn’t tell what type of fish they were, but they wanted to find out.

Reaching for some rods that were rigged with Z-Man PaddlerZ underneath popping corks, Thomas hoped the lures would do the trick.

“This is probably not the ideal lure for this, but it’s what is already rigged, and we need to cast to them quick,” said Thomas. Both anglers made a few casts from the deck of Thomas' Avenger Bay Boat, popped the corks back to the boat, and had several bites before Thomas hooked up on about the third cast.

“It’s definitely not a redfish,” Thomas said when he noticed the fight was much different than the bulls they’d been catching all morning. As the fish finally showed itself, both anglers looked at each other and said surprisingly “false albacore!” Neither had seen this species so close to the beach in the Georgetown area.

Capt. Tommy Scarborough of Georgetown Coastal Adventures had a boat full of anglers and was also at the jetties catching false albacore, which he called a nice bonus fish.

“It happens once or twice a year here, and you have to take advantage of it when you see them. We were catching big reds, but starting casting surface plugs once we saw these other fish blowing up on the surface. They are some kind of fun to catch, and a nice bonus when catching bull redfish,” said Scarborough.

Most of the bull redfish are being caught on the bottom, and Thomas said the bite for them will continue to be hot throughout the rest of the year. Anglers going after them should make sure to have some other rods on standby, rigged with popping corks or some type of surface lure just in case you get surprised by a surface-feeding frenzy.