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Early East End Fluke Fishing

By Kastking | 22 January 2018 | 0 Comments

Here’s an experienced captain’s point of view on how to fish for fluke off of Long Island’s East End.

 

I’ve fished for fluke from just about every port on Long Island.  So, it’s safe to say I know a few things about quality fluke fishing. In my opinion, the most productive area to fish for big fluke anywhere… is off Long Island’s East End, which includes both the North and South Forks. 

 

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East End Long Island fluke fishing can be a lot of fun throughout the season

This especially holds true during May, and also on into June when huge bodies of fluke (summer flounder) are migrating inshore from their wintering grounds at the edge of the offshore canyons.  As fluke arrive, the clean, cool, bait filled waters of the East End holds large fluke in very good numbers.

 

The North Fork area is famous for beautiful scenery and calm, protected waters that surround such big fluke fishing hotspots as Shelter and Gardiners Islands.  In spring, these waters are cool, and highly oxygenated.   Baitfish like spearing and squid thrive in such conditions. Being that area waters are so protected from weather, almost any day is fishable because one can tuck into many lee areas to get out of gusty winds.

 

Montauk Point is a bit different in regards to geography.  The Point lies at the end of the South Fork, jutting right out into the open Atlantic.  As a result, good Montauk fluke fishing is very dependent on the weather of the “day”’. I’d estimate ninety-percent of May fluke are caught off Montauk’s South Side.  A heavy blow from the southwest will dirty the water with silt, and shut the fluke bite down for a couple of days.  One can try fluking on Montauk’s North Side in such conditions, but honestly, my fluke fishing here is normally poor until sometime in June.

 

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Captain Tom Mikoleski with a quality fluke caught while fishing off Montauk Point, Long Island

I love bucktailing for big fluke when conditions allow.  The rhythmic action of a jigging bucktail bouncing along the bottom is a tantalizing target that is very tough for a predatory fluke to ignore.  Most East End fluke fishing takes place in water from 40 to 70-ft deep. The prime time to be bucktail jigging in these depths is when the drift speed is slow enough to allow for a 2 to 4-ounce bucktail to touch bottom.  Always use the lightest bucktail needed to hold contact with the bottom. My favorite fluke bucktails are called RattleTails and are made by S&S Bucktails.

 

Bucktail jigs fished alone will catch fluke plenty of fluke. However, I find that bucktails are much more productive when a teaser and hook is added about 6 to 8-inches above the jig.  I make my bucktail teaser rigs with 40-pound fluorocarbon leader of about 2-feet in length.  To one end of the leader, I tie on a small barrel swivel, and to the other, I attach a medium sized snap swivel. To complete the rig I bend the remaining leader in half, and at this mid-point is where I tie in a large dropper loop for the teaser and hook.

 

The reason for the snap on the rig is twofold.  First, it allows for easy change of bucktail sizes and colors.  Secondly, after catching and netting a fluke, the jig and teaser will almost always become hopelessly tangled in the net.  It is much easier to get the tangle out by removing the jig from the snap, and getting it out of the tangle.

 

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Fluke caught with KastKing reel, KastKing braided line, and KastKing rod while aboard Grand Slam Charters in Montauk, NY

I use simple, sliding, riveted bucktail teasers.  Many other anglers love those exquisitely tied “fly” type teasers that mimic sandeels, squid, or spearing perfectly. So, the choice is yours.  Over the years, I have found that on North Fork waters jigs and teasers tinged in pink, or yellow often have a definite advantage when fluke fishing.  On the South Fork white or chartreuse is usually the preferred color.

 

I know anglers just love, love, love Berkley Gulp baits for assorted game fish, including fluke. In fact, I always have Gulp Grubs on the boat also.  However, I still prefer baiting up my jig and teaser with combos of whole spearing and/or fresh strip baits sliced from locally caught squid whenever possible.  Always keep the squid strips thin and only about 4 to 6-inches in length.  When bucktailing for fluke, it is best not to go crazy with long strips of squid because the strip will often wrap around the hook from the jigging imparted on the rig.  This kills the fluttering, attracting, action of the strip. In addition, too much bait on the hook will catch the current, causing one to need a heavier bucktail to reach the bottom.  Lighter bucktails always seem to catch better for me.

 

There will be days when the drift is too fast for effective bucktail jigging.  The fall back option is a simple baited hook on a 3-way rig or fish-finder rig.  For my rig, I again use 40-pound fluorocarbon leader and the same sliding bucktail teasers.  This time the leader length is about 3-feet long and has a 4/0 or 5/0 Mustad Big Gun hook tied to the terminal end. I use a slightly bigger hook than most anglers because I have no interest in catching short fluke, and the bigger hook allows me to avoid some.

 

When baiting up, I again use fresh local squid if I can get it.  A thin, pennant shaped strip of squid, about 6 to 8-inches in length is the way to go with a bait rig.  Keep in mind, strip baits sliced from fresh caught bluefish, sea robins, or keeper fluke also make outstanding strip baits.

 

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KastKing Super Power Braid is extra tough and stands up well for fluke fishing

I always combo my strip baits up with either a large spearing or sand eel. When fluking, it is crucial that the bait always looks natural when drifting, so, always hook the fish baits once in the eyes, and the strip baits only once through the very end of the widest part of the strip.  I normally slice away a lot of the meat on the strip bait and prefer to fish mostly just the skin on my hook. I feel this presents a thinner, more natural presentation to the fluke.  To insure a proper presentation down below I always observe my bait just below the surface to make sure it drifts straight without spinning.  In my opinion, if the bait spins during the drift… my catch rate suffers.

 

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KastKing Rover is an excellent fluke fishing reel available in 40, 50, and 60 sizes.

I prefer to use light bait casting outfits for my fluke fishing. Checkout the KastKing Rover bait-casting reel in the size 50 or 60 (search Amazon.com/KastKing or Eposeidon.com for great pricing.) I spool my fluke reels with braided line, and for East End fluking I prefer 30-pound KastKing Super Power Braid.  This season I intend on trying a new even thinner braid called KastKing MaxThin8.  This line is “crazy” thin but unbelievable strong, and will allow me to deploy even lighter bucktails to fool big wily fluke (16 lb test KastKing MaxThin8 is equal in diameter to 1 lb test monofilament line).. I’ve been using KastKing line for 3-years now, and it works great, and again is available at a very attractive prices, at the sites above.

 

Hooking up consistently with big fluke results in a bit of a learning curve. Often, a big fluke bite will simply feel like a light tap, followed by a heavier weight on the end of the line.  If I’m bucktailing, I’ll immediately set the hook upon such a sensation. But, if I’m drifting a bait rig I’ll always delay hooking the fluke, and let the fluke munch on the bait for a few seconds before attempting a hook set.  When I feel the time is right with a bait rig, I’ll slowly lift the rod tip and try to set the hook with a little more finesse.  If you miss hooking the fluke, whether bucktailing or baiting, quickly drop the bait back to the bottom and give it free spool for a few seconds.  Fluke are very aggressive, and many time the fluke you missed, or perhaps a shadowing buddy, will give you another shot at successfully hooking up.

Early season fluke fishing on the East End can be spectacular.  When the bite is right, don’t be surprised if by the end of the day you end up with a few jumbos in the 4 to 8-pound range in the cooler.  In addition, I strongly feel that the odds of landing that cherished 10-pound plus fluke is much better off the East End than anywhere else along Long Island’s diverse coast line.

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Grand Slam Charters plying the waters of Montauk Long Island in the hunt for doormat fluke

By — Captain Tom Mikoleski,  Grand Slam Charters Montauk

 

Capmikoleski, grand slam, fishing, fluke, basstain Tom Mikoleski is the successful fishing charter captain of the Grand Slam sailing out of Montauk, NY for trophy striped bass, doormat fluke, jumbo porgies, humpback sea bass, and monster sharks. Capt. Tom is the author of Bass Buff — A Striper Fishing Obsession Guide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Eposeidon:

 

eposeidon, fishing, tackle, logoEposeidon (www.eposeidon.com  Eposeidon Outdoor Adventure, Inc.)  brings a fresh, innovative approach to anglers by offering quality fishing tackle products at the best prices and no cost, or low cost shipping. Eposeidon’s goal is to exceed expectations through outstanding customer service and superior product value to their customers. Eposeidon is continually expanding its product lines, which include KastKing® (an ICAST Award Winning Manufactuere) fishing line, fishing reels, and fishing rods, MadBite fishing lures, Ecooda reels, and other fishing tackle products, to meet individual fishing equipment needs. Eposeidon is headquartered in Garden City, NY, USA and sells fishing tackle products globally. Eposeidon is the sole North American Distributor for Ecooda fishing reels

 

Early East End Fluke Fishing by Captain Tom Mikoleski 

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