Video: Rigging a Zoom Fluke for Albies
August 13, 2020
I’ll be the first to admit that I am no expert when it comes to catching false albacore. However, my 25-plus years of chasing these fun, fast and finicky fish have taught me to trust in the effectiveness of a single lure, to the point where I seldom tie on anything else.
The “secret weapon” in question is the soft-plastic Zoom Fluke—specifically the 5 ½-inch, pearl or olive-over-pearl version rigged “Texas-style” (i.e., weedless, without additional weight). My preferred hook is a VMC 3/0 wide-gap worm hook, which seems to result in more hook-ups than the traditional long-shank worm hooks commonly used with soft-plastics.
While the Zoom Fluke is fairly light, it has a bit more heft than a Slug-Go or Fin-S-Fish of equivalent length, so you can generally cast it farther. Still, I typically wait until I’m within 50 feet of the albie school before attempting a cast. And I always position the boat upwind of the fish, as trying to sling an unweighted soft-plastic into a breeze is usually an exercise in frustration.
The Zoom Fluke also draws blind strikes on occasion, so be sure to cast it into areas where the fish have just popped up. Twitch it on or just below the surface. No need for a fast retrieve here.
I fish the Fluke on a 7 ½-foot, light-action spinning rod and a medium-size reel filled with 8- to 12-pound-test mono or 20-pound-test braided line. I like to use a wind-on leader system comprising a Spider Hitch in the main line followed by a Bristol knot to attach three feet of 20-pound-test fluorocarbon leader. This setup allows me to reel the leader inside the upper rod guide for improved casting accuracy. I tie the Zoom Fluke to the leader with an improved clinch knot or Palomar knot.
Aside from its lightness, the other drawback to the Zoom Fluke is that it tends to create line twist, which can lead to horrific tangles—usually when a school pops up next to the boat. That’s why I always keep more than one outfit rigged with a Fluke.
Tie the leader to the eye of the hook and place the hook alongside the Fluke’s body to see where the point should enter. Remember to factor in the length of the knot, as you want the tip of the bait to cover the knot when you’re done.
If you’re new to rigging soft-plastics, you may want to mark the spot where the hook point will exit the bait.
Holding the lure slit-side down, insert the hook point dead-center in the tip of the bait and exit about a ¼” below the tip on the underside of the bait.
Pull the hook through the bait, stopping when the eye reaches the tip then turn the hook around so the point is facing the body.
Insert the hook point in the center of the belly slit at roughly a 45-degree angle. You will need to slightly bend the body of the lure so that the hook point exits at the pre-determined spot.
Push the hook point through the center of the body. Continue threading the hook shank into the pocket or belly slit. When done, the point should sit flush against the body. Finish by pushing the tip of the bait over the eye of the hook and the knot.