Fluke also called summer flounder are a very fun fish to catch all summer long in the bays of New Jersey and along the east coast. In the winter fluke spend their time in 200 to 500 feet of water on the continental shelf. There are also winter flounder that are in shallow waters in the spring, winter, and fall. There will typically be a fleet of party boats and recreational fishermen just offshore in about 10 to 75 feet of water all summer long catching fluke.
This type of fishing is relaxing and everyone on the boat can expect to catch a few fish if using the proper bait and techniques. Party boats give out dead minnows to use as bait.
With this bait, most people only catch 1 to 3 fluke all day. If a bucktail jig with a white gulp teaser is used people can expect to catch 5 to 10 fluke. When someone brings gulp with they seem like professional fishermen compared to everyone else! Fluke fishing is not overly complicated. If you are using white gulp and the bait is on the bottom fish can be consistently caught. Jigging and twitching the pole does help trigger bites.
A boat is not needed to catch fluke. Fluke hang out around ledges, sandbars, muddy bottoms, rocky bottoms, near inlets and under piers. Really if it is fluke season and the bait is on the bottom there is a decent chance a fluke will be caught. Fluke are good fish to eat but need to be over 18 inches in most states to keep. It is common to catch three or four short fluke for every keeper. I will discuss the top five fluke baits and explain the rig setup. These basic tips should help you catch more fluke.
Here Are the Best Fluke and Flounder Baits, Lures, Rigs, and Fishing Tips
1. White Gulp Minnow Grub
Price: Around $8
People that look into the best bait for fluke know that Berkley Gulp is the most recommend way to catch fluke! From personal fishing experience, it is almost magical how much better it works than other baits! When fishing in a tournament for large fluke live bait might be an equal method but for the recreational fisherman trying to easily catch lots of fish, Gulp is the way to go. I use pearl white Gulp almost exclusively but chartreuse Gulp works great as well.
Gulp swimming mullet comes in three or four-inch sizes and can be pearl white or chartreuse in color. The three inches is a good size for teasers and small hooks. The four-inch gulp is a good size to put on jigs.
2. Spro Bucktail Jig
Price: Around $7
The Spro Bucktail Jig comes in weights from 1/2 ounce to 4 ounces. The jigs come in a variety of colors and should match the gulp that is used. My favorite color fluke jigs are white, chartreuse, and dark shad. Bucktail jigs also work great to catch striped bass.
Custom Fluke Teaser Rig
My friend Ryan O showed me how to make the best setup for jigging for fluke. The rig consists of a Spro Bucktail Jig as the weight, a five-foot 20 to 50-pound fluorocarbon leader and a white gulp used as a teaser bait about 18-inches above the jig. The teaser is tied by making a dropper loop where a number 3/0 or 4/0 bait hook is attached. A three-inch white gulp minnow is placed on the hook right before the line is dropped into the water. Jigging for fluke is typically done with saltwater spinning reels.
The leader line is tied to the mainline with a double uni knot or a barrel swivel. A barrel swivel is used if you do not know how to tie line to line with the double uni knot. Gulp is also added to the bucktail jig. The jig needs to be 2 to 4 ounces to get to the bottom in average currents. Typically only large fluke bite the bucktail. About four out of every five fluke are caught on the Gulp teaser.
Price: Around $4. Gamakatsu baitholder hooks, size 3/0 or 4/0 size works great for holding the gulp teaser. Size 4/0 is needed when using a leader line greater than 20-pound test.
Price: Around $15
Seaguar fluorocarbon leader 20-50 pounds is used as the leader line to make the fluke rig. Using a 20-pound line is standard and it is easier to fit the hook onto the dropper loop. If line heavier than the 20-pound test is used the teaser hook will need to be large enough for the line to fit through the eye of the hook.
3. Berkley Gulp Darter Jig Head
Price: Around $8
A 3/8 ounce Berkley Gulp Darter Jig Head with a 3/0 hook is a good size for a three-inch Gulp minnow. A 4/0 hook size is good for a four-inch Gulp minnow. These also work good for gulp shrimp but this is not typically used for fluke fishing. The gulp bait keeper holds the gulp of the hook very good.
This swim jig is very light in terms of fluke jigs. These work great when in shallow water under 8 feet deep and when fishing from shore. Pulling it up and down of the bottom is a good method as well as contentious twitching while slowly retrieving the jig just off the bottom.
The cownose stingray below was caught off Sandy Hook in New Jersey the first week of August. I caught it near the bottom on a Gulp teaser and thought it was a giant fluke. We have also caught these using cut bunker. We always release them and I am not sure if they are legal to keep. In early August in New Jersey cownose rays swimming near the surface in the tens of thousands. Their fins rising above the surface look like shark fins from a distance.
4. Gulp Grub
Price: Around $9
A six-inch Gulp Grub with a swimming tail works great on spro jigs. This grub comes in a variety of colors, white and chartreuse work the best for fluke.
This grub is a bit too long to use a teaser. It is commonly added to jigs and the action of the tail does a great job attracting fish. The grub portion can be cut short if used on smaller jigs or teaser hooks. The tail works well facing up or down.
5. Bottom Fishing Rigs
Price: Around $7
The Fin Strike Fluke Rig 557 comes with Mustad Ryder hooks with red beads and single hammered spinner blade and sinker snap.
The weight can be clipped directly on the sinker snap when jigging. In a fast drift or retrieve it would be a good idea to add a 20 to a 30-inch leader to connect the weight to the sinker snap. This will keep the bait just of the bottom which is perfect for fluke. This has two hooks and it is recommended to put a three-inch gulp on perpendicular to the hook shank. Then add two dead minnows to the larger hook. If minnows are not available just use the tail from a piece of gulp on the second larger hook.
Pyramid sinker weight, 2-4 ounce. A drop shape weight, round weight or egg sinker would be a good idea if you are frequently casting and retrieving the rig.
Fluke Chicken Rig
Sea striker pompano double hooks rig is the classic chicken rig that works great to catch all sorts for bottom fish.
The chicken rig above will work great to catch fluke. This rig is pre-made and you will only have to know how to tie a basic fishing knot. Add a pyramid weight or jig to the snap swivel and tie the mainline from the pole to the barrel swivel. The snap swivel will make it easy to change weights if needed. Add three-inch Gulp minnows to the hooks and you are ready to catch lots of fluke! Make sure enough hook is exposed out of the gulp to hook the fish.
Thanks for visiting Global Fishing Reports. I hope these suggestions help you catch more fluke and flounder!
If you have any suggestions for top fluke lures and baits, leave a comment below!
Captain Cody has worked on charter fishing boats in the Florida Keys, Virgin Islands and Alaska. Cody grew up in Pennsylvania and has also done extensive freshwater fishing including bass fishing tournaments. Cody strives to provide detailed information about the best fishing gear and tactics to help both novice and experienced anglers have a more productive and enjoyable time on the water. Cody also has a background in aerospace engineering and neuroscience but really only takes pride in being good at one thing and that is fishing!