Just a Fluke: Everything You Need to Know About Catching the Delicious Fish
By Jackson Forman
Fluke, AKA Summer Flounder, is a flat fish that roams the waters of the East Coast. Delicious to eat and easy to catch, they have strange anatomy. One side is brown, and one side is white. When they are younger, they have one eye on each side, and when they get older, the eye on the white side shifts to the brown side.
In order to catch fluke, you will need some specific equipment. I will link all of the gear. And, of course, you will need some bait. I know that a lot of pros use Berkley Gulp! I personally use it because it is strong, affordable, and the fish love it.
Now that you have some bait, you will need some hooks. There are a few options. You could go with a chicken rig, which consists of two hooks and a sinker. One of my favorites is a round ball jig head with one teaser hook.
How will you cast your rig without a line? I recommend using braid because it is super strong and has no stretch. I personally use a 20 lb braid. Using just a straight braid is no good. A fish could pull hard enough and make that braid slip. You will also need to get yourself some leaders, sections of line that connect the bait to the main line. Leader is mainly made of fluorocarbon. I use a 30-pound seaguar blue label fluorocarbon. There are two ways you could attach your mainline to your leader. You could either get a swivel, or you could tie a double uni knot.
Now for the most important part, the rod and reel. I recommend a spinning rod for beginners because it is way easier to cast. When you get more advanced, you can move up to a baitcaster. For a rod, I recommend the Tsunami Scale Tech. This is the rod that I use. It is in the lower price range, but it can put in the work of some fish. It is a stiffer rod which is good for jigging. I use this rod for pretty much every fish I catch whether that be fluke, stripers, or blackfish. And now, the reel. Im pretty broke, so I can’t get all the $600 dollar reels that the pros use. I’ve been using the same reel for around three years now. It is nothing special, it is just a cheap little Penn reel. I use the Shimano NEXAVE Fi and the Penn Fierce III. I just recently purchased the Shimano NEXAVE Ti, and I can say that it is a good reel for its price. A lot of avid anglers buy a reel like this and use it for three days because it is so cheap. Now you have all of the gear needed to catch some fluke.
It’s time to catch some fish. You will need to find yourself a beach, a boat, a bay, or even an inlet. You should make a long cast depending on where you are. Let’s say that you are at the beach. I personally like to fish off of the jetty. So now that you are at your spot, make a long cast. You will want to reel your line so that it is taut. When your line is tight, you will bounce it moderately fast, making small twitches. You want to bounce it for about five seconds at a time. After five seconds, pause, reel up, and make sure it is tight. Sometimes the fluke will attach your bait on the pause.
Now for the landing part. It can be difficult to land fluke from the jetty. What you will want to do is put your hand on the midsection of the rod, put your other hand on the butt of your rod, and then lift up. That method is good for smaller fish and small keepers. When you end up with that one doormat, you will want to walk the fish to the beach by sticking your rod over the edge of the jetty. When you get off the jetty, you can either pull it up on the sand or right to the edge of the water. When the fish is on the edge, you can put your rod down and pick it up in the water.
You have the fish, but you don’t know if it’s legal. If you don’t know the regulations for your area, you can always look it up. The 2022 season was two fish between 17 and 18 inches and one fish over 18 inches. You could keep three per day.
You have to be careful when dehooking a fluke. They have razor-sharp teeth that can rip up your hands. I have been bitten by a fluke before and it hurts. The worst bites are with the little ones because they can shake their heads really fast. You should invest in a pair of pliers for when the hook goes deep into their mouths. When the hook is outside of their mouths, you can just use your fingers. I recommend bringing some sort of rag because fluke have really small scales and really sticky slime. After you catch your keeper, what you want to do is bleed your fish. You do this by taking pliers and ripping out their gills. You have to do this while they are still alive because their heart’s still beating. If you don’t do this, the meat will taste really fishy.
There are so many ways to cook fluke. You can go with grilled, fried, or even baked. My favorite technique is to cover a fluke fillet in a mixture of panko breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and cajun seasoning, then fry it in vegetable oil. Frying it makes it really crunchy and flaky.
I really enjoy fishing for fluke, and I hope you do too. If there are any more questions you have, give me a shout.