Fluke and Fluke Fishing


In the summer when the striped bass go further north to find cooler water, many fishermen switch to fishing for fluke (summer flounder.) Fluke are probably the best eating of any fish you can catch.


Fluke are flat fish with two distinctly different sides. Their bottom side is white and pretty smooth. Their topside takes on the color of the bottom so that they can appear camouflaged where they lay. They have two eyes, but they are both on the top side looking up.

Summer Flounder

Fluke Camouflaged

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They are highly predatory. They lay stationary on the bottom and partially submerge themselves, making them difficult to detect by baitfish passing overhead. Then they will quickly shoot out of their hiding place to viciously attack any baitfish that comes within their range.

Their prey includes sand eels, small menhaden, silversides, killifish, spearing, small bluefish, porgies, squid, shrimp, and crabs.

Fishing for Fluke

Knowing the above, it is clear how to fish for them. You know they will be laying on the bottom, facing into the current or tide, waiting for the moving water to bring the baitfish to them. Then from a boat set up a drift so that your bait or lure will drift over or close to them. From the shore, cast out and work your bait or lure along or near the bottom in the direction of the moving water. When fishing from the shore, the incoming tide is best.



Gu;p Swimming Mullet

Gulp Swimming Mullet

In the past we would almost always use a live killifish with a strip of squid as a bait, with enough weight to keep it near the bottom. If killifish were hard to come by we would use spearing or frozen sand eels.

In more current times we often use use Gulp imitation baits - either shrimp, sand eels, grubs or swimming mullet, and do as good or even better. A 4 inch gulp swimming mullet is shown on the right.

Fluke Rigs

Simple Rigs

The simplest rig is a 3-way swivel with a bank sinker on one leg, a leader and hook on one leg, and the line on the third leg. A lot of fluke have been caught using this simple rig. This rig is shown on the left below. Another good rig is the Fishfinder Rig shown on the right below. On bothe rigs use a sinker size that lets you keep the bait near the bottom, considering the drift rate.

3 Way and Fishfinder Rigs

Over-Under Fluke Rig  Over-Under Fluke Rig

Bucktail Rig

Bucktail with Gulp Swimming Mullet

A Bucktail with a Gulp Swimming Mullet on the hook is a simple and very effective lure for catching fluke.

Follow this link to see: Bucktail Lures on

Follow this link to see: Berkely Gulp Lures on

Over-Under Fluke Rig

Bucktail-Teaser Rig

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6 oz Bucktail

6 Ounce Bucktail

6 Inch Gulp Grub Gulp

6 Inch Gulp Grub

Bucktail - Teaser Rig

A Presently popular fluke rig is the Bucktail-Teaser Rig, shown at the right.

With this rig a bucktail jig goes on the duo-lock snap at the botttom and a Gulp bait goes on the teaser hook above. The hook and gulp bait is on a dropper loop about 18 inches up, where the fluke who laying on the bottom can readily see it, and hopefully try to eat it.

Sharpies on head boats have been winning pools using this rig, with a big 6 inch Gulp grub bait on the hook. Bigger baits catch bigger fluke.

You may have to use a heavy bucktail, like the 6 ounce buctail shown on the right to keep your rig near the bottom at higher drift rates. This bucktail has a trailer hook. Put a strip bait, like squid, on the bucktail hook, and put the trailer hook at the end of the strip bait.

Fishing the Rig

If you are using a rig with the bait on the bottom, continually jig with short hops. The hops move the bait or lure up a couple of feet into the zone that the fluke are observing as they lay on the bottom. They will charge up and grab it.

From the Shore

When casting from the shore for fluke my first choice is a ¾ ounce bucktail with a teaser about 18 inches above the bucktail. The teaser rides a little higher in the water column during your retrieve, better for the fluke to see it. Add a Gulp bait to the teaser hook and maybe also to the bucktail. A second, very small bucktail, makes a good teaser.

Good Old Bait

Rather than Gulp, many still prefer a minnow for bait, usually with a strip of squid. That still works.

More About Fluke Fishing

Gary The Toad's Fluke

Montauk Fluke

Link to larger image.

Fluke feed all day, even when the sun is out. So you can fish for fluke during the day. Nice!

Fluke bite best when the water temperature is above 60 degrees, and it helps if the water is clear.

You can catch fluke on flat sandy bottoms, but they seem to bunch up on bumps and along channel edges. Using your fish finder find such bottom features and set your drifts to go over them.

The bigger fluke are more likely to be caught in deeper water.

When a fluke takes your bait or lure you will see, or feel, your bait or lure stop, then drop your rod tip and let the fluke inhale the bait for a couple of seconds, then set the hook. If you react too quickly to a suspected bite, you can pull the lure or bait out of the fluke's mouth and not get the hook set.

Fluke aren't fussy about the rod you use, or the reel.

World Record Fluke

World Record Fluke

Capt. Nappi's Fluke

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24.3 Pound Fluke

Monica Oswald's Fluke

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Most fluke you catch will weigh under 5 pounds, however they can grow quite large.

The world record fluke weighed 22 pounds and 7 ounces. It was caught on September 15th, 1975 by Capt. Charles Nappi in waters off of Montauk N.Y. He caught his big striper using a snapper bluefish for bait.

Monica Oswald's Fluke

On August 17th 2007 Monica Oswald from Neptune City N.J. caught an even bigger fluke in waters off of Monmoth County N.J. This fluke weighed 24.3 pounds and was 38.25 inches long. Monica's fluke was not approved as a record by the International Game and Fish Association because Monica had rested her rod on the boat rail while she was bringing in the huge fish.

Larger Photos of Fluke

Summer Flounder

Fluke camouflaged on the bottom

Image by NOAA

Bucktail Teaser Rig

Bucktail Teaser Rig

6 Ounce Bucktail

Six Ounce Bucktail With Trailer Hook

World Record Fluke

Capt. Nappi's World Record Fluke

The world record fluke weighed 22 pounds and 7 ounces. It was caught on September 15th, 1975 by Capt. Charles Nappi in waters off of Montauk N.Y. He caught his big striper using a snapper bluefish for bait.

24.3 Pound Fluke

Monica Oswald's Fluke

Gary The Toad's Fluke

Montauk's legendary Gary "The Toad" with a 8.9 lb Fluke caught just off Montauk Point on the South side, 5/5/2012.
Photo from

Highroller Fluke

Fluke - caught on the Highroller - Atlantic City.

Follow this link to see: Fluke Fishing Books


Link back to the top

Book - Flounder