For those who love fishing, catching fluke is considered a rite of passage. But, it’s not as simple as just casting your line and waiting for a bite. Fluke fishing requires specific techniques that are crucial in making sure you get the catch you want.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced angler, learning how to fish a fluke can be challenging. However, with these expert tips, you’ll have everything you need to become a pro at catching this elusive species.
In this article, we’ll dive into what a fluke is, where to find them, and the best equipment to use. We’ll also delve into some essential fishing techniques that will help increase your chances of success in the water.
“Fishing provides time to think, and reason not to. If you have the virtue of patience; an hour or two of casting alone is plenty of time to review all you’ve learned about the grand themes of life.” -Carl Safina
If you’re ready to up your game and catch more flukes than ever before, continue reading for some valuable advice from seasoned fishermen.
Understanding the Fluke Fish
An Overview of Fluke Fish
The fluke fish, also known as summer flounder, is a flatfish that’s commonly found in North America’s Atlantic coast. They are highly sought after by anglers because they put up a good fight and are delicious to eat.
Fluke fish can grow up to 25 inches in length and weigh up to 10 pounds, making them a trophy catch for many fishermen. They have an unusual body shape that makes them perfect ambush predators, hiding on the ocean floor and waiting for unsuspecting prey to swim past before attacking.
Physical Characteristics of Fluke Fish
The most notable physical characteristic of the fluke fish is its asymmetrical body shape. Both eyes are located on one side of the head, and their mouth is twisted upwards, which allows them to quickly swallow any prey that crosses their path. Additionally, fluke fish have scaleless skin that’s covered in mucus, which makes them difficult to hold onto.
Fluke fish come in different colors depending on where they live. Those found in sandy environments tend to be lighter in color with brown spots while those from rocky areas possess dark green backs and white undersides. The fins of fluke fish have spines that protect them from potential threats like larger predators or fishing lines.
Habitat and Diet of Fluke Fish
Fluke fish are native to the western Atlantic Ocean and typically inhabit shallow waters, no deeper than 100 feet. These fish prefer sand or muddy bottoms but can also be found near jetties and reefs where they’ll go to find food. During spawning season fluke fish will migrate to offshore waters.
In terms of diet, fluke fish are opportunistic predators that will eat a wide variety of prey. Some of their favorite prey includes squid, crabs, shrimp, and small fish like herring or sand lance.
“The most important thing about fishing is to be where the fish are.” – Tom McNally
If you’re interested in learning how to catch fluke fish, it’s essential that you match your bait with what they are currently feeding on. This means using live bait if possible and researching what’s available to them at different times of the year depending on their location.
Now that you know more about the physical characteristics, habitat, and diet of the fluke fish, you’ll be better prepared to start your own personal journey towards mastering this sport fish.
Choosing the Right Gear for Fluke Fishing
Fluke fishing, also known as summer flounder fishing, is a popular pastime among both novice and experienced anglers. However, to catch these elusive fish, you need to have the right gear. Here we’ll explore some essential equipment that you should consider when going fluke fishing.
Rods and Reels for Fluke Fishing
Your rod and reel will be the backbone of your fluke fishing setup. When choosing your gear, it’s important to keep in mind the size and weight of the fish you’re targeting. Generally speaking, a medium or medium-light spinning rod measuring between 6-8 feet long is ideal for fluke fishing. Pair your rod with a quality spinning reel, one that can hold at least 150 yards of line. Good choices include models made by Penn, Shimano, and Daiwa.
“For fluke fishing, choose a medium-action rod rated for 10-20 pound test line” -SportFishingMag.com
Bait and Lures for Fluke Fishing
The bait and lures you use for fluke fishing are critical to success. Common live baits that work well for fluke include squid, spearing, and minnows. If using artificial lures, soft plastic imitation baits lead the pack. A bucktail jig with a strip of squid or gulp swimmer tail can also work wonders. Try using a combination of both and switch frequently until you find what works best for the day.
“The key is to use light tackle and present your offering naturally” -On The Water
Fishing Line and Leaders for Fluke Fishing
Fluke are notoriously finicky and have eyes on top of their head, making them masters at seeing and avoiding your bait or lure. That’s why it’s essential to use light line and long fluorocarbon leaders when fluke fishing. You want the fish to feel as little pressure as possible when they nibble at the hook, giving you a chance to set the hook and reel in your catch.
“Use an 8-12 pound monofilament or fluorocarbon mainline with a 4-6 foot fluorocarbon leader” -SaltWaterSportsman.com
Other Essential Gear for Fluke Fishing
In addition to your rod and reel, there are some other pieces of equipment that will make your fluke fishing adventure more enjoyable and productive. These include:
- A tackle box stocked with weights, hooks, spinners, jigs, swivels, and other fishing essentials
- A cooler filled with ice packs to store your catch
- A net to help you land your hard-won fish
- Polarized sunglasses to reduce glare and help spot fish in the water
- Sunscreen, insect repellent, and appropriate clothing to keep you comfortable throughout the day
With the right gear and proper technique, catching fluke can be a rewarding and exhilarating experience. It takes practice to perfect this style of fishing, but once you get hooked, you’ll never look back!
“Don’t forget to have fun out there!” -WorldFishingNetwork.com
Locating Fluke Hotspots
Fishing for fluke can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. However, catching them consistently requires knowledge of where to find these elusive fish. Here are some tips on how to locate fluke hotspots:
Understanding Fluke Migration Patterns
Fluke migrate throughout the year and are influenced by water temperature, food availability, and spawning patterns. During spring and summer, they move into bays and estuaries to spawn and feed. In fall, they move out to deeper waters to avoid cold temperatures.
“Fluke tend to gather in areas with good tidal exchange, structure, and a sufficient supply of baitfish.” -Capt. John McPartland
To increase your chances of finding fluke, target areas with strong currents, such as channels, holes, and drop-offs. These spots provide an opportunity for baitfish to congregate, attracting fluke looking for an easy meal.
Identifying Fluke Feeding Areas
Once you have located a potential hotspot, it’s time to identify key feeding areas. Fluke feed on a variety of prey, including squid, crabs, shrimp, and small fish.
“Try drifting over sandy bottoms or near submerged rock piles, wrecks, or artificial reefs to present your bait in areas where fluke may be actively feeding.” -Tom Melton, Saltwater Sportsman
Consider using a fishfinder to track schools of baitfish, which can lead you to active fluke. If you notice other boats fishing in a particular area, chances are there are fish there worth targeting.
When choosing bait, use natural offerings like live minnows, squid strips, or rigged sand eels to entice fluke. Remember to present your bait close to the bottom, where fluke typically feed.
- Fluke are most active during incoming tides when food is stirred up and carried towards them.
- Make sure to pay attention to changing currents. Because fluke swim against the current to search for food, a sudden shift in tide direction can indicate they may be moving elsewhere.
Locating fluke hotspots requires a combination of understanding migration patterns, identifying feeding areas, and having patience. With practice, you’ll soon be reeling in these delicious flatfish like a pro!
Techniques for Catching Fluke
Drifting for Fluke
One of the most popular techniques for catching fluke is drifting. This involves using a boat to drift along as you fish. The idea is that the bait or lure will move naturally with the current, making it more attractive to the fluke.
When drifting for fluke, it’s important to pay attention to your surroundings. Look for changes in water depth, temperature, and clarity. These can all indicate potential hotspots for fluke fishing.
You’ll also want to experiment with different baits and lures. Bucktail jigs are commonly used for drifting, but you may find that a live bait rig or soft plastic work better depending on the conditions.
“When drifting for fluke, let the drift take the lead. Find the bottom first with enough weight so that you always stay down.” –John Skinner
Bouncing Along the Bottom for Fluke
An alternative technique for catching fluke is bouncing along the bottom. This method involves dropping your bait or lure directly to the bottom and then slowly lifting and dropping it back down, imitating the natural movement of prey.
This technique works well when fishing in deeper water or areas with rocky bottoms. It’s important to keep the bait or lure close to the bottom and move it slowly and deliberately in order to attract the attention of fluke.
Bucktail jigs and rigged plastics are popular choices for this technique. You may need to adjust the weight of your jig to suit the conditions and ensure that it bounces along the bottom effectively.
“Keep in mind that fluke love structure – they love rough bottom. They like something to hide behind, ambush their prey and conserve energy.” –Gene Quigley
Jigging for Fluke
Jigging can also be an effective technique for catching fluke. This involves using a jig to create a jerking motion in the water that mimics the movement of prey.
When jigging for fluke, it’s important to use a light line and rod so that you can feel the slightest movements. Slowly move the bait or lure through the water, bouncing it along the bottom as you go.
You may need to experiment with different types of jigs and retrieve speeds in order to find what works best. Bucktail jigs and soft plastic lures are popular choices.
“With bucktails, we bounce them off the bottom, let them sit, and then bounce them again – over rocky structure or any other type of structure. We make long casts across current flows and work them back with the flow.” -Jerry Audet
Casting and Retrieving for Fluke
If you prefer more active fishing, casting and retrieving can be a fun and challenging way to catch fluke. This involves casting your bait or lure out and then reeling it in at a steady pace while twitching the rod tip to create movement.
Larger minnow imitations and plastic grubs work well when casting and retrieving for fluke. Pay attention to the depth of the water and adjust your weight accordingly so that you’re fishing close to the bottom but not dragging your bait along it.
This technique requires a bit of finesse and patience, but can result in some exciting strikes from hungry fluke.
“I always encourage my customers to cast instead of drifting because anyone can drift and catch fish – it takes skill to spot-cast and retrieve.” -Captain Nick Savene
Tips for Safely Releasing Fluke
Handling and Releasing Fluke Properly
If you are wondering how to fish a fluke, it is essential that you learn the proper way to handle and release them. As with any catch-and-release fishing, you want to do everything possible to reduce the chance of injury or death to the fish.
The first step in handling a fluke safely is to wet your hands before touching them. This helps protect their slime coat, which provides protection from disease and parasites. Be gentle when removing the hook and avoid pulling on it too forcefully as this can damage internal organs.
If the hook is deeply embedded, cut the line near the hook instead of trying to remove it. The hook will eventually dissolve and the fish will be able to feed normally again.
To release the fluke, support its weight with both hands and gently lower it into the water. Avoid throwing them back into the water, as this can cause shock or injury. Instead, hold onto the tail and let them swim away on their own.
Using Circle Hooks to Reduce Mortality
One way to increase the chances of safely releasing a fluke is to use circle hooks. Circle hooks have a unique shape that makes it more difficult for the fish to swallow the hook deeply. This reduces the risk of deep hooking, which can lead to serious injuries or mortality when released.
In addition, circle hooks tend to hook the fish in the lip rather than the throat or stomach, making it easier to remove the hook without causing unnecessary harm.
Releasing Fluke with Minimal Injury
In some cases, even when using circle hooks, a fluke may still suffer an injury during the catching and releasing process. To minimize the risk of injury to the fish, try to use appropriate fishing tackle and techniques.
Using light tackle can help you feel the bites better, so you will be able to detect when the fish is on the line and avoid setting the hook too deeply. Also, avoid using treble hooks which are known for causing more damage than single circle hooks.
If possible, release the fluke as quickly as possible after catching it. The longer it remains out of water, the greater the chances of injuring or stressing the fish. If you need to take a photo of your catch, make sure to do it quickly and return the fish to the water as soon as possible.
“Fishing provides that connection with the whole living world. It gives you the opportunity of being totally immersed, turning back into yourself in a good way. A form of meditation, some form of communion with levels of yourself that are deeper than the ordinary self.” -Ted Hughes
Fishing a fluke requires not only skill but also knowledge about how to handle, hook, and release them safely. By following these tips, you can enjoy the excitement of fishing while also doing your part to preserve these important species for future generations to enjoy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a fluke and how do you identify it?
A fluke, also known as summer flounder, is a flatfish that is found in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. They are typically brown or olive in color with spots or blotches on their skin. You can identify a fluke by its distinct diamond shape and its two eyes on the same side of its head. They can grow up to 26 inches long and weigh up to 20 pounds.
What is the best time of year to fish for fluke?
The best time to fish for fluke is during the summer months from June to September when the water temperature is warmer. Fluke are also more active during the day when the sun is out and the water is calm. You may also want to check the tide charts and fish during the incoming and outgoing tides when the fluke are feeding.
What is the best bait to use when fishing for fluke?
The best bait to use when fishing for fluke is squid or minnows. You can also use other types of bait such as mackerel, clams, or sandworms. Make sure to rig your bait properly and use a sharp hook to increase your chances of catching a fluke.
What is the best technique to use when fishing for fluke?
The best technique to use when fishing for fluke is drift fishing. This involves drifting with the current and using a bucktail jig or a fluke rig with a strip of bait. You can also try casting and retrieving your bait along the bottom to mimic the movement of a fluke’s prey.
What is the ideal location to fish for fluke?
The ideal location to fish for fluke is in shallow waters near sandy bottoms, wrecks, or reefs. Look for areas where the water is between 20 and 80 feet deep. Fluke tend to congregate around structure and are attracted to areas where there is a lot of baitfish.
How do you properly handle and release fluke?
When handling fluke, make sure to wet your hands first to avoid removing their protective slime. Use a dehooking tool to gently remove the hook and release the fish back into the water as quickly as possible. If the fish is injured, consider keeping it for food or donating it to a local fishery or food bank.