Go Big for Big Fluke

Big fluke want the real meal deal! Photo Tom Richardson

When it comes to catching fluke (summer flounder), it seems that every angler has his or her favorite bait rig. That said, there’s a consensus among the pros that big baits are tops when trophy fish are the goal. Here, 2 expert fluke fishermen—Capt. Dave Monti of Rhode Island and Capt. Phil Wetmore of Connecticut—reveal their go-to rigs for targeting doormat fluke.

Fishing Big Baits for Big Fluke
Monti’s fluke cocktail.

Monti serves up a real mouthful with what he calls a “fluke cocktail”. This consists of a strip of fluke belly; a whole, dead shiner (or similar baitfish), and a squid strip impaled on a 5/0 Kahle hook. A small, white or glow-in-the-dark rubber squid is placed on the 3- to 4-foot leader ahead of the hook, with 3 or 4 red spacer beads ahead of the hook eye. Monti fishes his cocktail on a 3-way rig, often while drifting along a steep channel or drop-off.


Fishing Big Baits for Big Fluke
Wetmore’s adjustable fluke rig.

Wetmore, on the other hand, prefers a 6- to 7-inch, whole squid rigged on a 2-hook setup. The rear hook is an octopus style, while the lead hook is a smaller live-bait hook nail-knotted to the leader, so it can be slid up or down the leader to fit the size of the bait. The lead hook is threaded through the tip of the mantle, while the rear hook is placed in the squid’s beak or head. Lastly, a small plastic skirt is slid over the tip the squid, which adds color and helps prevent the bait from spinning. Like Monti, Wetmore also fishes this bait off a 3-way rig over deep Long Island Sound shoals, such as Six Mile Reef.

No matter which setup you choose, fish it on a slow drift with the wind and tide in the same direction.