Fishing Tips: Fluke

By Capt. Kevin Shea: May 2005


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Nice 20lb Mahi caught in Sept. 2003

There are many different ways to fish for fluke. How you fish for them depends on a many factors like wind, tide, type of boat (party boat, charter, or personal) and time of year.

When to fish for fluke
In Montauk, we start fishing for fluke in early May and end in September, if the regulations allow. May fluke fishing creates a buzz since they are usually the first of the "warmer" water fish to arrive into our area. Stripers are usually right behind and a day of fluke AND striped bass fishing is a great combination. However, the first few weeks of the season can be both spectacular and non-eventful. Weather and water temperatures usually play a big part in the early days of the season. But, once these fish are in, and the water temps are right, they are here for the season.

Where to fish for fluke (in Montauk's waters)
Montauk's first fluke hit the south shore from the deep water. They make their run inward and you'll see boats in May fishing from the radar tower and west towards East Hampton. Normally, these fish are found between 25 and 70 ft. of water and they like "pockets" in the sea floor.

Once the water starts to warm up, the fish start to settle into our many rips. These rips can easily be seen on any chart. When fishing the rips you'll want to set your drift and cross past the rip. I usually grid a rip when looking for fluke by drifting a tight "Z" over and over until I find the right spot.


Tackle Recommendations
Bring Plenty of hooks and sinkers! Our rocky fishing grounds are known for stealing rigs. Because you'll be fishing in varying depths, wind and tides, you should have sinkers from 6 through 12 ounces and wide gap fluke hooks. I would also recommend trying some of the specialty rigs with teasers and bucktails. I've seen these rigs produce some really big fish.

As far as reels and poles go, I recommend light gear, but a sturdy rod. You can use spinning reels just fine, but I prefer conventional reels a boat rod with 30 lb. test fishing line

The best bait for fluke is squid. You can spice up the squid with a spearing or sand eel. Cut your squid long and thin with a slice at the bottom to create a flutter tail. In the past and when it's available, I have used mackerel belly, fluke belly, bluefish (small) and skate as excellent baits for fluke.

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