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Deep Water Fluke

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Fluke FishingThe rod and reel combo we recommend for deep water fluke should be capable of handling 30lb braid. The rod should be 6’6″ to 7′ with a fast to extra-fast action.  Levelwind reels are certainly easier to use, but may present a handicap when dropping the bait down during a fast drift (because the line goes out more slowly).   Do not be confused by the suggested lure weights specified on the rod blanks.  These weights pertain to the size of lures that can be cast effectively using that rod.  Much heavier weight can be used when simply dropping to the bottom or flipping the rig away from the boat.

Braided Line for Deep Water Fluke

The reel should be loaded with 30-50lb braid.  The heavier braid is preferred when fishing with the larger 4-6oz bucktails or bouncing 4-16oz sinkers on the bottom.  Since braided lines have a thinner diameter and less water resistance, they provide an added advantage and allow the angler to hold bottom with lighter sinkers.  The lack of stretch transmits even the softest of hits back to the angler.

Deep Water Fluke Bucktails

The most common bucktail colors are  chartreuse (yellow/green), white, and pink.  We strongly suggest using bucktails that are specifically designed to drift with the hook up.  This provides the best presentation and greatly reduces the chance of getting snagged on the bottom.  It is critical to use a bucktail that is heavy enough to provide a nearly vertical presentation.  Bucktails weighing 4-6oz are frequently used.  The bucktails should always be tipped with either softbait tails or natural baits (squid strips, spearing, etc.).

The bucktail should be attached to the main line with 3ft of 50-80lb fluorocarbon leader using a  75lb barrel swivel. The heavier leader is needed when bluefish are present.

Deep Water Fluke Bait Rigs

This rig consists of a 4-6ft length of 50lb fluorocarbon leader tipped with a 4/0-5/0 bait holder hook preceded by a Mylar dressed rivet (adding flash and a bit of color). The leader is tied to the midpoint (using a dropper loop) of a 2-3ft length 30lb fluorocarbon leader attached to the main line via a 100lb barrel swivel on one end and completed by a bank sinker on a perfection loop at the other end.   The loop allows the angler to easily change to the appropriate sinker.  Sinker weights of up to 16oz may be required in very deep water and fast drifts.

Deep Water Fluke Techniques and Tips:

Stay in touch

It is critical that the bait is presented just off the bottom.  Once the rig get up in the water column, the bait will quickly become ineffective.  Be sure to use a large enough sinker to hold the bottom.  Larger sinkers are needed as drift speeds and depths increase.  The speed of the drift is determined by both the wind and the current generated by the tide.  Larger diameter lines also require heavier sinkers.  Drop the rig to the bottom and keep the amount of scope in the line to as little as possible.  The more line that is in the water, the greater the water resistance and the tougher it is to hold bottom.  Those fishing smaller boats can use their motors to stem the tide by placing the stern into the tide and bumping the motor in and out of gear.  This will also allow the anglers to spend more time over a productive piece of bottom.  This is known as stemming.  This should be done only when conditions permit.  No boat should never be held into a significant sea stern first for any length of time.  When there is little or no drift, the motor can be used to create a drift.  Once again, bump the motor in and out of gear to cover the bottom as thoroughly as possible.  This is known as power drifting.

Work that bottom

Once you arrive in an area, it is important get a feel for the exact direction and speed of the drift.  Position the boat just above the area to provide enough time to get the rigs baited and to the bottom.  Use a fishfinder (sonar) to watch the depth and the quantity of bait on the bottom.  Watch for eddies and rips on the surface as they indicate changes in the bottom where the fish feed and hold.  Pay careful attention to exactly where in the drift the boat is when a fish is caught.  Use either a shore range or a GPS chart plotter to mark the spot.  A body of fish will typically bunch up on a specific piece of bottom or on a particular drift line.  Use this information to plan the next drift.  Be courteous to the other fishermen.  Never run the boat and position it just down-drift of another boat so that your boat reaches the fish first.  This is known as “short drifting” and is simply unacceptable behavior.

The hook-up

The rig should be bounced along the bottom using short lifts on the rod.  The frequency of these lifts should be varied.  There are times when the Fluke are more interested in a quick moving bait than a slow one.  The initial hit usually feels like a gentle tug or as if a slight bit of weight was momentarily added to the rig.  A slow lifting motion can be used to determine if there is additional weight on the rig.  If increased weight continues to be felt it is time to strike.  A short swift strike is all it takes to drive the hook home.  If the fish is missed, immediately drop back and start working the rod again.  Many times the Fluke will grab the bait on the drop back or as soon as it begins to move away.  Once a fish is hooked it is important to hold the rod steady and simply let the reel do its job while keeping a good bend in the rod.  Pumping the rod will result in many lost fish.  Once at the boat, the fish’s head must remain in the water until it is netted.

Bait choices

Fluke are very aggressive fish and will attack a wide variety of baits.  Strip baits can be very effective as the shape of the bait provides additional action and can entice the fish to strike even when the rod is in the holder.  Squid is usually the best choice should be cut into and long slightly tapered strips.  It is important to hook the strips only once near the wider end so that the bait will not spin.  Squid can also be used whole and once again hooked only once near the tip of the mantle.  Two hook adjustable bait rigs are also available and will certainly increase the hookup ratio when using the larger baits.  When the fish are big, choose the largest whole spearing that were available.  The spearing is hooked once through the eyes.  Other whole baits such as sand eels and snappers can also be used with great effectiveness.  The angler has tough choices to make when selecting the size of the bait.  Very large baits will discourage the smaller keeper size fluke (or make them very difficult to hook) but the larger presentation will attract bigger fish.  If you are willing to sacrifice some action in pursuit of a trophy fish, use larger bait.

Deep Water Fluke Checklist

  • 6’6″ to 7″ fast to extra-fast conventional rod rated for 30lb braid
  • Conventional reel with/without levelwind rated for 30lb braid
  • 30-50lb braid
  • 75lb barrel swivel
  • 30-80lb fluorocarbon leader
  • 1oz to 6oz bucktails  in white, chartreuse (yellow/green), and pink
  • Softbait tails
  • 6oz to 16oz bank sinkers
  • Mylar rivets
  • 4/0 to 5/0 beak baitholder hook

Please contact us if you have questions about our recommendations!


Tackle Recommendations
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Rods
Penn Ally Boat Rods Penn Ally Boat Rods
Inshore casting (conventional) and spinning rods - 7' - multiple models suitable for 10-40lb mono and 10-50lb braid - fast to extra-fast actions - 1 piece tubular glass blank construction with solid glass tip - Fuji aluminum oxide guides - Pac Bay roller guides (on select models) - Heavy duty reel seats - EVA Torque foregrips - Aluminum gimbals
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Penn Ally Boat Rods Penn Ally Boat Rods
Shimano Teramar Northeast Inshore Casting Shimano Teramar Northeast Inshore Casting
Inshore conventional rod - 6'6" to 7'6" - multiple models suitable for 12-50lb braid or mono - medium to fast actions - lure weights from 1/2oz to 6oz
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Shimano Teramar Northeast Inshore Casting Shimano Teramar Northeast Inshore Casting
Reels
Penn Fathom Levelwind Penn Fathom Levelwind
Star drag conventional reel with level wind - models rated for 15-60lb mono and 20-100lb braid - 4.3:1 gear ratio - 3 ball bearings - HT100 drag washers
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Penn Fathom Levelwind Penn Fathom Levelwind
Penn Fathom Penn Fathom
Star drag conventional reel (no level wind) - models rated for 10-50lb mono and 15-80lb braid - 6:1 gear ratio - 5 ball bearings - HT100 drag washers
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Penn Fathom Penn Fathom
Shimano Tekota Shimano Tekota
Star drag conventional reel with levelwind rated for 12-40lb mono and 30-80lb braid - 3 ball bearings - 4.2:1 gear ratio
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Shimano Tekota Shimano Tekota
Shimano Torium Shimano Torium
Star drag conventional reel (no level wind) - models rated for 14-50lb mono and 40-100lb braid - 6.2:1 gear ratio - 3 ball bearings - aluminum frame and side plates
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Shimano Torium Shimano Torium
Line
Berkley Fireline Braid Berkley Fireline Braid
Braided line - virtually no stretch - moss green color - very thin line diameter - available 6 to 80lb test and 110, 300, and 1500 yard spools
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Berkley Fireline Braid Berkley Fireline Braid
Lures
HookUp SynTail Bucktail HookUp SynTail Bucktail
SynTail Series w/premium Mustad hooks and synthetic skirt for durability - available in 1/2oz to 6oz in a wide variety of colors
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Hookup Big Bucktail Hookup Big Bucktail
Classic bucktail w/premium Mustad hooks available in 1oz and 1.5oz in a wide variety of colors
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Hookup Big Bucktail
Berkley Gulp Mullet Berkley Gulp Mullet
Gulp Alive! Soft bait - 3" - GSSM3 - available in 12 colors - natural, action, scent and taste - irresistible swimming tail action.
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Berkley Gulp Mullet Berkley Gulp Mullet
Berkley Gulp Alive Shrimp Berkley Gulp Alive Shrimp
Gulp Alive! Soft bait - 3" - GAPSHR3 - 15 different colors - looks, feels and smells like live shrimp - extremely durable and long lasting - rig on a jig, dropper, or any way you would with live shrimp
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Berkley Gulp Alive Shrimp Berkley Gulp Alive Shrimp
Berkley Gulp Alive Grub Berkley Gulp Alive Grub
Gulp Alive! Soft bait - 1.5" - GAJJG1- available in black, chartruese, pearl, and white - proven shape and action works well for all fish - use on jigs, dropshots, and dropper loops
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Berkley Gulp Alive Grub Berkley Gulp Alive Grub
Berkley Gulp Sandworm Berkley Gulp Sandworm
Gulp Alive! Soft bait - 6" - GAPSW6 - available on bloody, camo and natural - looks and feels like natural sandworms - rig and fish like live bait.
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Berkley Gulp Sandworm Berkley Gulp Sandworm
Berkley Gulp Squid Berkley Gulp Squid
Softbait - 3" - GSSQ3 - available in 6 different colors - natural action, scent and taste - rig on a jig-head, a dropper loop or a Carolina rig.
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Berkley Gulp Squid Berkley Gulp Squid
Berkley Gulp 6" Grub Berkley Gulp 6" Grub
Softbait - 6" - GSG6 - available in 6 different colors - tough and durable - fish at depths up to 300 feet - wide swimming tail for greater action and visibility
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Berkley Gulp 6" Grub Berkley Gulp 6" Grub
Hooks
Mustad Beak Baitholder Hook Mustad Beak Baitholder Hook
92661-NI - Forged, Reversed, 2 Slices in special long shank, Ringed, Nickel
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Mustad Beak Baitholder Hook
Terminal Tackle
Mustad Rolling Swivel Mustad Rolling Swivel
77900 - Black Rolling Swivel w/round eye - available sizes/rating: 4/144lb, 6/118lb, 8/104lb, 9/77lb, 10/70lb, 12/49lb, and 14/42lb


Yo-Zuri Fluorocarbon Leader Yo-Zuri Fluorocarbon Leader
Fluorocarbon leader  - invisible, durable, max knot/crimp strength - clear  and disappearing pink colors - 4-200lb test and 30/100yd spools
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Yo-Zuri Fluorocarbon Leader Yo-Zuri Fluorocarbon Leader
Yo-Zuri TopKnot Fluorocarbon Leader Yo-Zuri TopKnot Fluorocarbon Leader
Fluorocarbon leader - additional abrassion resistance, lower diameter, invisible, durable, max knot/crimp strength - clear and disappearing pink colors - 8-200lb test and 30/100yd spools
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Yo-Zuri TopKnot Fluorocarbon Leader Yo-Zuri TopKnot Fluorocarbon Leader
Berkley Prospec Leader Berkley Prospec Leader
Fluorocarbon leader - invisible, durable, max knot/crimp strength - clear, blue, pink, brown colors - 20-200lb test and 25/33/75/100yd coils
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Berkley Prospec Leader Berkley Prospec Leader