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Cape Cod Fluke Tactics Part #1| Locations

This is part #1 of a three part series on fluke fishing Cape Cod via boat. Make sure to also check out Part #2 Gear & Tackle as well as Part #3 The Finer Details

John D. Silva

Thanks in part to sound management in recent years by state fishery agencies along the upper east coast, previously endangered summer flounder (fluke) stocks have made a rapid recovery.

Over the last two decades, tight commercial restrictions, stricter recreational limits and shorter fishing seasons have all contributed to help save these highly coveted ground fish from the brink of disaster.

Buoyed by these results, there is every reason to believe that this success will continue this season and into the future.

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Fluke Are Back In Business

“Summer flounder stocks are in good shape,” said Paul Caruso, retired Senior Marine Fisheries Biologist for the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) in an interview we did before his retirement.

“They have been managed under a rebuilding schedule for almost [20] years. And due to sacrifices by the fishermen, and the work of our fisheries biologists and managers, the results are indeed gratifying. The expanding stock size and age composition has lead to the resurgence of the coast-wide recreational fishery, as well as our own local fishery.”

vineyard sound fluke fishing

The author's son Brett Silva with a Vineyard Sound fluke.

The Best Areas For Big Doormats

The two shoals shown below are some of the most well known and productive fluke-fishing waters in the Sound. 

These highly productive waters host some of the finest fluke fishing in New England.

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Peak fluke fishing usually occurs from early July to mid August, depending on weather conditions and bait/forage availability. And while smaller fish may be more numerous on the shallow sand flats (15 to 20 feet in depth), the biggest, doormat-size fluke, (what we like to call, “fluke with shoulders”) will most often be found in deeper waters.

So if your plan is to carpet the deck of your boat with some huge polka-dotted floor mats, begin by targeting the deep-water drop-offs adjacent to these shallow sand flats. An area where the depth quickly drops from 20 feet to about 40 feet or more is perfect.

Below is one good example of such a spot.

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And here's another.

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Even deeper drop-offs, with some holes dropping to over 90 feet in depth can be excellent fluke locations.

2 areas which contain these deep holes are shown below.​

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If there is an abundance of available bait in the water then you’ll surely find quality-size fluke.​ 

Fish areas that contain squid.​

squid fluke fishing

Areas that contain sand eels, or small schooling baitfish can also be productive.

This is part #1 of a three part series on fluke fishing Cape Cod via boat. Make sure to also check out Part #2 Gear & Tackle as well as Part #3 The Finer Details

What do you think?

Let me know by commenting below.

  1. I haven’t checked back in here for a while. So if you have asked a question I didn’t get to, please feel free to re-post it here or send me a PM via the forum. I don’t always get notified when questions pop up the articles. When I do I always respond to the best of my ability.

    2017 Update: I did the research for this article quite some time ago and the quotes from Paul Caruso (who has since retired) have become dated. Over the last 7 years things have changed in MV Sound for fluke. Unfortunately their numbers are in steep decline from their peak in 2010: http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/07/25/trump-administration-roils-regional-waters-with-unprecedented-decision/3Taqg1zIq71BUselhHux1N/story.html

    Fluke are still out there, we just have to work harder to find them.

    JD.

    Reply
  2. Answer for Jacques: You can get fluke inside the bay if you hug the channel edges during high tide. The water is about 10-12 feet deep or you. You can also get them along the jetties. I hooked one of my biggest fluke (a long time ago) right at the corner. However be warned that the boat traffic has the right of way and it can get very busy along the jetties, especially during the weekend.

    Reply
  3. I am also looking for some good fluke fishing spots around mashneeflats or onset, but from shore. Just returning to the area after 34 years in the Army, excited to a catch some quality fish.
    Dan

    Reply
  4. Would off of Shovelfull shoal where it drops down to 60′ be good?

    Reply
    1. Shovel-full shoal….? Hmmm, I can’t recall the topography there off the top of my head, but my guess would be if there’s currently productive fluke shallows bordering that drop-off, then the answer would be yes. The deep sand ledges are usually where you find the larger doormats, but it’s also slower fishing and not always automatic. So sometimes it’s a good idea to fish the shallows and get a feel for how the fish are holding and feeding during that stage of tide (and put a few legal fish in the cooler to boot) then head out deeper looking for the biggies.

      One indicator of possible big fluke below would be seeing squid swimming around in the water.

      -JD-

      Reply
  5. I have to give credit to Ryan for the detailed geo maps (“with circles and arrows pointing to the scene of the crime”).

    One wild card I didn’t mention is the potential for draggers to come in and wipe out entire areas. I still don’t have a handle on how or why or even “if” it’s allowed, but if so, they can really do a lot of damage if allowed to drag through MV Sound. So having a backup location in mind is always helpful.

    -JD-

    Reply
    1. No problem on the maps. Great article John!

      Interesting (almost sad) point about the draggers as well.

      Reply
      1. Are any of these areas safe for kayers? I really want to catch fluke out of my Hobie, but don’t want to get into trouble with rips and such…also access, too. I took the kayak out on Sunday right along the Sandwich Harbor by the canal but all I caught was 20 Skates, 1 Sea Robin and 2 baby Fluke!

        Reply
        1. Sorry- meant kayakers!

          Reply
          1. “Are any of these areas safe for kayers?”

            larizzo, thanks for your response… My favorite area for kayak-safe fluking would be Waquoit Bay in Mashpee. You can catch keeper fluke along the edge of the boat channel so long as it’s not a busy boating day. Be safe…

            -JD-

            Reply
            1. Thanks, JD – my parents are coming from TN this weekend and I gotta catch them something!

            2. Hi John, when you fish fluke in Waquoit Bay do you fish the boat channel directly between the jetties or do you go more inland? I have found that the boat channel going through the Bay does not get much more than 6 to 7 feet deep but closer to 10 to 12 between the jetties.

  6. Very detailed info.
    Great insider tips, thank you!!

    Reply

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