PARTY BOAT FLUKE FISHING RECOMMENDATIONS
For Party Boat Fluke (Summer Flounder) fishing, I prefer 15 to 25 pound test monofilament depending on conditions, with a fairly stiff 6′ to 6’6″ rod either spinning or conventional. You need to be prepared to accommodate a variety of drift conditions and have an ample supply of bank sinkers ranging from 3 to 12 ounces. If your bait is not on the bottom you might as well go sleep in the cabin! I don’t recommend the use of the braided line for party boat fishing as it can be a nightmare to untangle when fishing on a crowded boat.
A good basic inexpensive fluke rig consisting of a Mustad 37162 2/0 to 4/0 wide gap hook (preferably gold) with a 36 inch 20-pound mono leader and three-way swivel with sinker clip is all you really need to catch these fish. Some folks prefer to use fluorocarbon leaders but I think they are overkill. Remember that fluorocarbon leaders are generally stiffer and don’t serve a purpose unless you are fishing in relatively shallow clear water to which fluorocarbon is ideal.
Keeping your bait moving is absolutely essential to catching fluke in good numbers especially if your drift is slow. Raise your rod frequently to keep your bait in motion. I like to put the rod down and pop the line by hand. By holding the line in your hand you could feel the very first take on your bait. As soon as you feel the fish take it, drop the line, pick up the rod give the fish some slack, count to five and set the hook. This method works really good when using a circle hook however you just start cranking instead of setting the hook. This will save you from gut hooking the little guys.
Party Boats usually supply squid and spearing (Atlantic Silversides) for bait but it is always a good idea to bring some live minnows (Killies) along for the trip. I have found that by simply taking a small lunch cooler with wet newspaper, a small 1/2 pint frozen water bottle and some seaweed you could keep a pint of killies alive pretty much all day so long as they are moist and cool. Trying to keep them alive in a bucket of water is a pain unless you have an aerator. Change your squid strips frequently as well as your spearing if you don’t get any bites after a few casts. It is a good idea to carry some artificial bait with you as well. A good selection of different colored 1 1/2 to 2-inch grubs especially white, chartreuse, purple, yellow and red could significantly enhance your catching when fluke gets locked on a color. Slide one-up the hook shank to the eyelet and fish it in conjunction with your squid /spearing or killie combo. When fishing is slow, I start changing colors until I find something that gets a response. Another great artificial is the Berkley Saltwater Gulp products especially the swimming minnows or mullet in 3 or 4-inch sizes, white or chartreuse. I have seen people catch good numbers of fluke on these with no other bait especially with the chartreuse color. Tip one of these gulps on a 2 – 4oz spro bucktail and adding a teaser hook to your rig is proving to be a deadly combination for catching fluke!