July 22 2015

Cape Cod Fluke Tactics Part #2 | Gear & Tackle


This is part #2 of a series of fluke fishing on Cape Cod.
To read part #1 about locations click here and to read part #3 about the finer details click here.

John D. Silva

Gear and tackle for deepwater fluking starts with a stout, medium or medium-light spinning or bait-casting rod. The reel should have a smooth, dependable drag.

Large fluke can be tough to pull off the bottom as they stubbornly cling to the sea floor like a sunken truck tire.

Once they are finally brought to the surface, that’s when the real battle begins.


Fluking Tackle 101

I prefer to spool up with braided line on the reel for its superior strength and sensitivity. Braided line also produces less drag in the water, which allows you to effectively hold bottom against strong, deepwater currents.

Using a 2- to 3-foot mono or fluorocarbon leader at the end of the line provides stealth and a little leeway (stretch) during battle.

One of the most effective setups for big fluke on Cape Cod begins with a 3- to 4-ounce bucktail jig. I prefer Spro Prime Bucktail jigs due to their streamline design, life-like appearance, and strong, needle sharp Gamakatsu hooks.

A trailer hook and leader (or a pre-made commercial fluke rig) is then added to the jig using a 3-way swivel.

fluke fishing on cape cod spro jig

In place of a jig, a 2- to 4-ounce lead sinker can also be used (some anglers use up to 6 ounces, especially when using mono line).

Attach the sinker to a 3-way swivel or a sliding fish finder rig. Then simply add a 3-foot leader with a fluke hook and any variety of fish-attracting teasers, such as rubber squid, bucktail skirts, beads, soft plastic teasers, and/or spinners.

When it comes to choosing between a sinker or a jig, as expert Cape Cod angler Andy Nabreski (Design Manager for On the Water Magazine) once told me, “One out of ten fluke will hit the jig, and that one is usually the big one.”

cape cod fluke fishing

Once properly rigged, a strip of bait is added to the trailer hook. If using a jig, add some bait to the jig hook(s) as well.

Feel free to mix and match baits to find which produce the best results. Any combination of live chubs, squid, pork rinds, sand eels, or even thin strips sliced out of the white undersides of the flukes themselves can be affective.

Fluke strips are effective, tough and durable baits in a pinch.

When using squid for bait, try peeling back the membrane from squid strips and cutting the end into a fork. This produces a “fluttering” effect while your bait drifts in the current and can be deadly on aggressive-minded fluke.

What do you think?

Let me know by commenting below.

  • Ive seen videos of people catching doormat fluke from a beach. Granted, it was on Long Island, but is that possible here in mass? lots of times the stripers and blues arent cooperating, i often wonder if i could start fluke jigging in the surf for the hell of it


    • Hi Steve,

      Hmmm, the only place I’ve ever done that was in the Cape Cod Canal, and it worked pretty well. Can’t really speak for the Cape waters, but I don’t see why not. The key is identifying sandy areas with sand eel populations and/or tidal flow areas where the fluke would sit and ambush prey from inside an ebb in the current.

      One of the biggest fluke I ever hooked was about 20 feet from shore in-between the jetties leading out of Waquoit Bay, (live-lining a snapper bluefish).


  • Sorry for the late response, I’ve been travelling out of state over the last week or so. I’ll get back to you on the photo requests and questions shortly.


  • For movement, fluttering the jig by almost vibrating the tip works well. That or very small jigging motion. Nothing with huge movement. We also drift, not anchor.

  • What’s been working for us is a 2 or 3 hook sea bass premade rig, with a white 3 oz spro jig on the bottom. Use squid, sand eels, or gulp swimming mullet in white or yellow. 30 ft or deeper water.

  • Las night I read your report on fishing for flukes and this morning I got my first fluke of the year and it was a keeper also. I was jigging for Black Sea Bass and I was delighted to catch a fluke. Tomorrow I am planning to eat it. Any recipe recommended?

    • Here’s my favorite fluke recipe….

      Ceviche, pronounced suh-VEE-chay, is seafood “cooked” by the acid of citrus, in this case lemon and lime juice. It is a dish of South American origin,

      • 1 lb Thick Fluke Fillets
      • 1/2 cup lemon juice
      • 3 T. Asian fish sauce
      • Juice of 3 limes (1 cup approx)
      • 3 finely chopped garlic cloves
      • 1-2 hot green chiles, or red pepper flakes
      • 3 finely chopped green onions or chives
      • ½ sliced red onion
      • 3 T. chopped cilantro
      • 1 can of diced tomatoes
      • 3 T. basil
      • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
      • 1-2 T. hot sauce

      Slice the fluke into small cubes, about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch.
      In a glass container, toss in the fluke chunks pour in lemon and/or lime juice and refrigerate for at least 12 hours
      Drain the citrus juice and pour in all the rest of the ingredients. Mix well to coat the fish and place in the fridge. Eat now or you can leave them in for up to 24 hours before eating. You can double or triple the recipe as needed…

      Serve cold.

  • Can you talk about how to work the rig? I’ve been slowly trolling (almost drifting) out of the kayak and trying to bounce the jig along the bottom – have tried lifting every few feet and then dropping it, or sometimes short pops along the bottom. Wondering which is more effective. Also, when to set the hook? I now know I can catch a million Skates, but I want big Flukes!

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