• Posted by Nick Honachefsky
  • On May 24, 2018
  • Comments
  •  1

This is it. New Jersey anglers have been waiting for this day since last September. Fluke season officially opens May 25th with a 3 fish bag limit at 18-inch minimum size in coastal waters and 3 fish at 17 inches in Delaware Bay waters. So what’s the game plan?

Here’s my take. Though its opening day, fluke have been here sunning and breeding in the backwaters since April, and truth be told, they are already on their way out of the back moving into the ocean waters. Thankfully in respect to fluke fishing, water temperatures have been below normal this year, right now around 59 degrees, and that means the backwaters will be the best place to start your fluke pursuits.

Work shallow water bays and river systems, focusing around 4 to 12 feet of water. Go light and use heavy scented baits to get early season fluke to pounce. I employ a 3/8 to ½-ounce Andrus bucktail in white or white/yellow and tip it with a 3 or 4-inch Berkley Gulp! Swimmin’ Mullet or fresh 4-inch strip bait of bluefish or mackerel. For backup bait, bring plenty of spearing and squid to add to your Gulp! arsenal.
About 16-inches up from the bucktail is a dropper loop with a size 2/0 Siwash bucktail hair teaser. 25-pound Yo-Zuri Fluorocarbon is used for the rig’s leader material. A proper medium weight rod with a moderate/fast action tip works the flutter of the bucktail best.

I use a 7-foot Shimano Terramar rod TMSE70M matched with a Shimano Sustain 5000 reel, spooled with 30-pound Spiderwire braid. Drift over the flats and stitch the channel edges to find where pods of fluke are staging.

If you find a few, keep motoring back up and repeating the same drift as where you find one fluke, you’ll find a pack hanging together. Outgoing tides usually produce best in the early season as the waters are warmer than the rushing cooler ocean water of incoming tides. Best shallow water areas to hit would be the Shark River, Manasquan River, Barnegat Bay, Great Egg Harbor and Ludlam’s Bay. Good luck to all on opening day and the Memorial Day weekend ahead, it should be a full on flounda poundin!

Gear Used


Andrus Bucktails

The Andrus Lures Ball Jigs Bucktail is great for fluke fishing and feature quality hair that holds up. Andrus Lures, the makers of premium jigs. Great for targeting fluke, striped bass and weakfish in the bay, surf, inlet and inshore waters.



Gulp! Swimming Mullet

Ideal for all saltwater species! Swimming tail action irresistible to fish. Lifelike detail and appearance. Berkley Gulp! Saltwater baits are made from natural ingredients that release 400 times more scent than plastic baits.



Stealth Braid

SpiderWire Stealth Braid is made from Dyneema, The World’s Strongest Fiber! Each size is uniquely constructed to provide the ultimate strength with the thinnest diameter for smooth and quiet performance.



TopKnot Leader

Yo-Zuri TopKnot Leader stays clear even after extended use, resulting in more bites!



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