Fishing for Fluke: Strategies for Landing These Flatfish

  • Updated June 9th, 2023

Are you ready to embark on an exciting fishing expedition targeting fluke, those elusive flatfish that inhabit coastal waters? Fishing for fluke can be a thrilling and rewarding experience, but it requires knowledge, skill, and the right strategies to increase your chances of success. In this in-depth guide, we will explore the world of fluke fishing, providing you with valuable insights, expert tips, and all the information you need to become a fluke fishing expert.

Fishing for Fluke: Strategies for Landing These Flatfish

Understanding Fluke

Fluke, also known as summer flounder, are highly sought-after game fish found in both saltwater and brackish environments. These flatfish possess a distinctive flat body shape, with both eyes positioned on one side. They can grow to impressive sizes, with some specimens exceeding 30 inches in length and weighing several pounds. Understanding the behavior and habitat of fluke is crucial for effectively targeting and landing these elusive fish.


Tackle and Equipment For Fluke Fishing

Selecting the right tackle and equipment is essential for a successful fluke fishing expedition. From rods and reels to lines and hooks, each component plays a role in your success. We will discuss the ideal specifications for fluke fishing gear and provide recommendations to optimize your setup for landing these flatfish.


Effective Fluke Fishing Techniques

Drifting Technique:

Drifting is one of the most popular and effective techniques for fluke fishing. By slowly drifting along the target area, you can cover a larger area and increase your chances of finding a feeding fluke.

How to rig your bait and set up your drift for optimal fluke fishing results:

To maximize your chances of success when fishing for fluke, it’s essential to rig your bait properly and set up your drift in a way that optimizes your chances of enticing these flatfish to strike.

Rigging Your Bait:

  1. Choose the Right Bait: Fluke are opportunistic feeders and can be enticed by various types of bait. Popular choices include squid, mackerel, spearing, and sandworms. Select fresh, lively bait to attract the attention of fluke.
  2. Use a Fluke Rig: A fluke rig consists of a sliding sinker, a swivel, and a leader with a hook. Start by sliding the sinker onto your mainline, followed by a swivel. Tie the leader to the other end of the swivel using a reliable knot, such as the improved clinch knot or the Palomar knot.
  3. Adjust the Leader Length: The length of the leader will depend on the water conditions and the depth at which you intend to fish. A general rule of thumb is to use a leader length between 18 to 36 inches. Longer leaders are suitable for deeper water, while shorter leaders work well in shallower areas.
  4. Attach the Hook: Tie your preferred hook to the end of the leader. The size of the hook will depend on the bait you’re using and the size of the fluke in your fishing area. Commonly used hook sizes for fluke range from 1/0 to 4/0.
  5. Bait Presentation: Depending on the size of the bait, you can either thread it onto the hook or hook it through the lips. Ensure the bait is presented in a way that looks natural in the water, as fluke can be picky about their prey.


Setting Up Your Drift:

  1. Consider Wind and Current: Before starting your drift, assess the direction and speed of the wind and current. Position your boat upcurrent of your desired fishing area, allowing the wind and tide to carry you along.
  2. Use an Anchor Buoy: To mark the beginning of your drift, drop an anchor buoy or a small buoy attached to a weight at your starting point. This will help you determine the length of your drift and allow you to adjust your position if needed.
  3. Adjust the Sinker Weight: The weight of the sinker will depend on the depth and current conditions. Use a sinker heavy enough to maintain contact with the bottom, but not so heavy that it hampers your ability to feel bites or move naturally with the current.
  4. Monitor Drift Speed: As you drift along, pay attention to the speed at which you’re moving. You want to maintain a slow, controlled drift that allows your bait to stay near the bottom where fluke typically feed.
  5. Stay in the Strike Zone: Adjust the length of your drift or the weight of the sinker to ensure you’re fishing in the strike zone. Fluke are often found near structures, drop-offs, or areas with changes in bottom contour, so focus your drift in these productive areas.


Jigging Technique:

Jigging is an active fishing technique that can entice fluke to strike. Using a variety of jigging methods, such as bucktail jigs or soft plastic lures, you can mimic the movements of fluke’s natural prey and trigger their predatory instincts.


Different jigging techniques and tips on retrieving the lure effectively for fluke fishing:

Jigging is an active fishing technique that can be highly effective in enticing flukes to strike. By mastering different jigging techniques and employing the right retrieval methods, you can increase your chances of success when targeting these flatfish.

Bucktail Jigging:

Bucktail jigs are a popular choice for fluke fishing, thanks to their versatility and ability to mimic natural prey. Here’s how to effectively jig a bucktail lure:

  • Cast and Let it Sink: Cast your bucktail jig near your target area and allow it to sink to the bottom. It’s crucial to maintain contact with the bottom throughout the retrieve.
  • Jerk and Lift: Once the jig reaches the bottom, use short, sharp jerks of the rod tip to impart an erratic action to the lure. This mimics the movements of injured or fleeing baitfish, attracting the attention of fluke.
  • Slow Lifts: In between jerks, incorporate slow lifts of the rod to give the bucktail jig a rising motion. This can entice fluke to strike as they often target prey that rises off the bottom.
  • Vary the Speed: Experiment with the speed of your jerks and lifts. Sometimes, a rapid, aggressive jigging action can trigger strikes, while other times, a slower, more subtle approach is necessary. Let the behavior of the fish guide your technique.


Soft Plastic Jigging:

Soft plastic baits are another effective option for fluke fishing. Here are some tips for retrieving soft plastic lures:

  • Bounce Off the Bottom: Rig your soft plastic bait on a jig head and cast it out. Allow the lure to sink to the bottom and then use a bouncing motion to mimic the movements of a fluke’s prey. Lift the rod tip to raise the lure off the bottom and then let it sink again.
  • Experiment with Twitches and Pauses: Vary your retrieval technique by incorporating twitches and pauses. After bouncing the lure off the bottom, twitch the rod tip to impart a subtle action to the soft plastic bait. Pause occasionally to simulate injured prey, enticing fluke to strike.
  • Try Different Retrieves: Fluke can exhibit varying feeding behaviors, so it’s essential to experiment with different retrieves. Sometimes, a steady, continuous retrieve works well, while other times, a stop-and-go retrieve or a retrieve with intermittent twitches is more effective. Pay attention to how the fish respond and adjust accordingly.
  • Tail Action: Soft plastic lures often have realistic tail action that can attract fluke. Choose lures with paddle tails, curly tails, or twister tails, as their subtle vibrations and movements can be highly enticing.


Bait and Lure Choices For Fluke Fishing

Natural Baits:

Fluke are opportunistic feeders, and using natural baits like squid, mackerel, spearing, and sandworms can be highly effective.

Proper bait presentation and insider tips on maximizing allure to attract fluke:

Proper bait presentation is crucial when targeting fluke, as these flatfish can be discerning feeders. By following some insider tips and techniques, you can maximize the allure of your bait and increase your chances of attracting fluke.

Use Fresh and Lively Bait:

Fluke have keen senses and are attracted to natural movements and scents. Using fresh and lively bait is key to grabbing their attention. Opt for high-quality bait, such as squid, mackerel, spearing, or sandworms, and ensure they are fresh and vibrant. Fluke are more likely to strike at bait that appears lively and enticing.

Thread or Hook Bait Securely:

When presenting your bait, it’s essential to secure it properly to the hook to maintain its natural appearance in the water. Depending on the size of the bait, you have a couple of options:

  • Threading: For larger baits, such as squid or mackerel strips, thread them onto the hook. Ensure that the bait is centered on the hook and that it hangs naturally.
  • Hooking: For smaller baits, such as spearing or sandworms, hook them through the lips or the body, taking care not to damage the bait excessively. The hook should be securely embedded without inhibiting the bait’s movement.

Mimic Natural Prey:

Fluke are accustomed to feeding on various types of prey, so it’s essential to mimic their natural targets. Consider the size, shape, and color of the bait you’re using and match it to the prevalent prey in the area. Research the local baitfish and try to replicate their appearance as closely as possible. By imitating natural prey, you increase the likelihood of triggering a feeding response from fluke.

Experiment with Bait Combos:

Fluke can exhibit preferences for specific bait combinations, and it’s worth experimenting to discover what works best in your fishing area. For instance, you can try using a strip of squid along with a spearing or sandworm. This combination can create a more enticing scent and profile, increasing your chances of attracting fluke.

Pay Attention to Bait Movement:

The movement of your bait is crucial for attracting fluke. Mimic the natural swimming or crawling motions of baitfish by imparting slight movements to your bait. Use gentle rod twitches or lifts to create subtle movements that imitate injured or struggling prey. Additionally, periodically vary the speed and depth of your bait to make it appear more lifelike and enticing to fluke.

Add Attractants:

Fluke can be enticed by the scents and flavors of attractants. Consider using scent-enhanced products, such as fish oils or artificial attractants, to give your bait an extra edge. Apply attractants sparingly, as overpowering scents can deter fish. Remember to follow local regulations regarding the use of attractants.

Stay Stealthy and Patient:

Fluke can be sensitive to disturbances, so it’s crucial to maintain a stealthy approach. Keep noise to a minimum, avoid excessive boat movement, and be mindful of your shadow. Position your bait in areas where fluke are likely to be present, such as near structures or drop-offs, and be patient. Allow sufficient time for fluke to detect and strike your bait.



Artificial Lures:

Artificial lures, such as bucktail jigs, soft plastic baits, and strip baits, can also be successful in enticing fluke strikes.

Different lure types, and colors for fluke fishing:

When it comes to fluke fishing, choosing the right lure type, and color, and employing effective retrieval techniques can make a significant difference in your success. Fluke are opportunistic feeders, and understanding their preferences and behavior can help you select the most enticing lures and enhance your chances of landing these flatfish.

Lure Types:

  1. Bucktail Jigs: Bucktail jigs are a classic and versatile lure choice for fluke fishing. These jigs feature a lead head with a bucktail hair skirt that creates a lifelike appearance in the water. Bucktail jigs can be effective in imitating baitfish, and their versatility allows for various retrieval techniques.
  2. Soft Plastic Baits: Soft plastic baits, such as paddle tails, curly tails, or twister tails, are popular among fluke anglers. These lures come in a wide range of colors, sizes, and shapes, and they can be rigged on a jig head or used with a teaser above them. Soft plastics offer realistic movement and vibration, enticing fluke to strike.
  3. Strip Baits: Strips of natural bait, such as squid or mackerel, can be highly effective for fluke fishing. These bait strips can be rigged on a bucktail jig or used with a teaser above them. The scent and movement of strip baits can attract fluke from a distance, making them a reliable choice.

Lure Colors:

  1. Bright Colors: Fluke are attracted to bright colors, especially in low-visibility conditions or murky waters. Chartreuse, white, and pink are popular choices among fluke anglers. These vibrant colors can stand out and catch the attention of fluke, increasing your chances of a strike.
  2. Natural Colors: In clearer water or when targeting finicky fluke, natural colors can be effective. Mimicking the colors of prevalent baitfish in the area, such as silver, green, or brown, can make your lure appear more natural and increase its appeal to fluke.


Final Thoughts:

Fishing for fluke offers an exciting and rewarding experience for anglers of all levels. By understanding fluke behavior, selecting the right tackle and equipment, employing effective techniques, and using the appropriate bait and lures, you can significantly improve your chances of landing these flatfish. Remember to follow local fishing regulations, practice catch-and-release when appropriate, and prioritize safety while enjoying your fluke fishing adventure. Now, armed with the knowledge and strategies provided in this comprehensive guide, it’s time to head out to the waters and chase after these prized flatfish. Happy fluke fishing!


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Fluke Fishing:


What is the best time to fish for fluke?

Fluke fishing is typically best during the warmer months, from late spring to early fall when water temperatures rise and fluke become more active.

Can I catch a fluke from the shore?

Yes, fluke can be caught from the shore, particularly near jetties, rocky structures, and areas with sandy or muddy bottoms.

What is the bag limit for fluke fishing?

Bag limits vary depending on your location and local fishing regulations. It is crucial to check the specific regulations for the area you plan to fish in.

What is the average size of a fluke?

The average size of a fluke can vary, but they typically range from 15 to 25 inches in length and weigh between 1 to 5 pounds.

What are the most effective colors for fluke lures?

Fluke are known to be attracted to bright colors such as chartreuse, white, pink, and combinations of these colors. Experimenting with different colors can help you determine what works best in your fishing area.

Can I use live bait for fluke fishing?

Yes, live bait such as live minnows, killifish, or squid can be highly effective in enticing fluke strikes. Ensure proper bait presentation and rigging for optimal results.

What are some additional tips for fluke fishing success?

Pay attention to tidal movements, and target areas near structures, vary your retrieve speed and depth, and maintain a stealthy approach to increase your chances of success.