• Posted by Nick Honachefsky
  • On May 25, 2017
  • Comments
  •  1

In New Jersey, top area waters include the Manasquan River, Barnegat Bay, Great Bay, Great Egg Harbor, Ludlam’s Bay and Cape May Harbor, as many of the shallow bays will span water depths from 5 feet up on the flats to about 15 feet in the heart of the ICW channels.

Early season fluke fishing will revolve around light tackle tactics in the back bays as the general population of flatfish inhabits the backwaters as they move into skinny waters to warm up and feed. Concentrate your efforts around high tide hours, mainly two hours before and two hours after the dead high as fluke will feed at the switch of the tide when the current is moving slowly enough to grab an easy meal flushing by.

When it comes to back bay fluking, you won’t find anyone else on the planet that loves using bucktails more than me. Bucktails offer ultimate control on how to tease up a fluke from off the bottom. A round head style is my number one shape, though when the tide starts ripping a bit, switch up to an arrowhead shape that will cut down on drag. Many manufacturers including Andrus, S&S, MagicTail will fit the bill, and sizes will span ¼ ounce to 1-1/2 ounces, but general average weight to use is about 3/8 to ½-ounce. Favorite color patterns include straight white, white/yellow, white/chartreuse when spearing are around, but when mantis shrimp or crabs are common, go with a white/orange or orange/brown bucktail. You can also opt to go naked. Kalin’s leadheads can also be used but don’t have the flash or enticing flutter of a bucktail. Whatever leadhead you choose, you definitely want to tip it with a variety of baits such as bluefish strips, mackerel strips, fluke belly, Berkeley Gulp! Swimmin’ Minnow or New Penny Shrimp.

Rigs should consist of a 50-pound Spro Barrel Swivel, a 28-inch section of 25-pound SeaGuar Fluorocarbon leader to which a dropper loop is tied 12 inches down from the swivel, then a loop knot on the end to the bucktail. A light 2/0 to 3/0 bucktail flash mylar teaser is fixed on the dropper, or a size 2/0 Gamakatsu Octopus hook which can then be tipped again with a strip bait. If bucktailing isn’t your thing, you can also opt to drag lighter drift rigs through. Start with a braid-friendly fishfinder slide clip, a 100-pound Spro Barrel Swivel, 26-inch section of 25-pound SeaGuar Fluorocarbon leader and a size 3/0 Gamakatsu or Owner Octopus Hook snelled on the business end. Clip on a 1 to 4-ounce bank sinker. Tip the hook with one single strip of mackerel, bluefish, squid or fluke belly, approximately 5 inches long and a half inch wide cut, tapered on each end to allow a natural flutter. Drift the rig and engage the reel when a fluke pounces.

Suggested Gear


Tear Drop Bucktails

The MagicTail Bucktail Tear Drop Lures feature super strong black nickel Mustad hooks. They are small bucktail lures. Made for inshore and shallow water fishing. The shape of the head is perfect for snap jigging which is the deadliest type of jigging for bass, weakfish, and flounder.



Power Swivels

These amazing swivels are made of high-grade stainless steel with a gunmetal black finish. They offer super smooth rotation and unbelievable strength and durability. SPRO Power Swivels are 1.5 times stronger than standard barrel swivels despite their tiny appearance.


Sea Striker

Bucktail Teaser Lures

The Sea Striker BT Bucktail lure is one of the most brilliantly-colored, life-like lures on the market! It has a smooth yet bit jerky motion attracting fish from all over. Let Sea Striker make it easy for you to make the big game catch.



Fluorocarbon Leader

Incredible impact and abrasion resistance. Fast sinking. Superior tensile and knot strength. The original FC (Blue Lable) Seaguar 100% fluorocarbon leader material allows you to use a smaller test leader than comparable nylons or fluorocarbons.



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