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Surf Fishing for Fluke: The Ultimate Guide

Surf Fishing for Fluke: The Ultimate Guide
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Do you want to go surf fishing for fluke, but aren’t sure where to begin?

When surf fishing for fluke, it is recommended that you use a bucktail rig. Once you have this rig, you can use Berkley Gulp mullet or Berkley Gulp shrimp as bait. When casting your line, make sure your rig is on the seafloor before reeling in since fluke is bottom dwellers.  

Below you will find general characteristics of a fluke, what kind of jig and bait to use, and how to reel the fluke in. 

Fluke Fish Characteristics 

The fluke fishOpens in a new tab., otherwise known as the “summer flounder,” is in the flatfish familyOpens in a new tab.. Other fish in this family include halibut, sole, plaice, dab, turbot, and more.

As their family name implies, fluke is flat. Because of this, they have both eyes on the left side of their body. 

They are known as “summer flounder” because they tend to migrate inshore during the spring and summer.

During the fall and winter, they migrate back out to deeper waters. It is during the fall, especially that they tend to spawnOpens in a new tab.

Regarding their appearance, fluke is white on the bottom and brown or gray on top. They have spots on their back, with at least five of these spots forming an “x” pattern. This pattern helps distinguish them from other flounder. 

On average, fluke live 12-14 yearsOpens in a new tab., which is a fairly short life for fish. The males grow to be 2 ft (.61 m) long, while the females grow to be 3 ft (1 m).

Fluke are bottom dwellers. They have been nicknamed “chameleons of the seaOpens in a new tab.” because of their ability to change bodies’ color and pattern to blend in the ocean floor.

Sometimes after the fluke change colors, they burrow themselves into the surrounding mud or sand and become completely invisible! 

If you’d like to see the fluke’s amazing camouflage abilities for yourself, check out this videoOpens in a new tab. by Fish Guy Photos. You can see a fluke change colors and then completely disappear into the sand! 

Fluke fish don’t move around a lot. They are ambush predators who wait in hiding spots on the seafloor until they see a bait fish or crab. Right when the prey passes the hiding spot, the fluke attacks. 

Another great thing about fluke is that they are very tastyOpens in a new tab., making them a popular catch among commercial and recreational fishermen. They are a delicious white-fleshed fish that are enjoyed by many.

They can be eaten fresh or raw, and are especially popular for Japanese sashimiOpens in a new tab.. When cooked, it can prepare in several ways, including frypan, steamer, or the oven. 

Fluke lives all along the east coast, from Nova Scotia to Florida. They are especially abundant in waters between Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Cape Fear, North Carolina.

These fish can tolerate a wide variety of depthsOpens in a new tab.. They can be found anywhere from shallow estuariesOpens in a new tab. to depths of 500 ft (152.4 m) or more! 

How to Catch Fluke

Fluke is a fun fish to catch when surf fishing. Plus, they will make a great dinner if you catch one that is large enough! Here are some tips on the jig, bait, and reel-in method to catch a fluke.

Use a Bucktail Jig 

It is recommended that, when you rig your gear for fluke surf fishing, you use a bucktail jigOpens in a new tab.. Bucktail jigsOpens in a new tab. are lures that have hairs tied to the jig head.

They are extremely effective lures for surf fishing and boat fishing.

According to the fishing website On The WaterOpens in a new tab., they can be used to catch just about anything in the ocean, including fluke! 

Bucktail is such an effective jig included in the navy’s emergency survival kit during WWII! In this video, by “Steve1989MREInfo,” he shows an authentic 1944 M-592 survival kit used by navy pilots during the war.

When he gets to the fishing gear section, you can see a bucktail jig! 

When it comes to bucktail colors, white, chartreuse, or pink be effective. However, varying the color of your bucktail based on the types of prey in your areaOpens in a new tab. and the water’s clarity may be the most effective method.

For example, if the water is murky after a storm, using bright green, orange, or glow colored bucktailsOpens in a new tab. may be a good idea since they will be more visible.

If you aren’t getting any bites, it is a good idea to try different colors until you find one that works! 

If you need to buy a bucktail rig, the Spro Bucktail JigOpens in a new tab. is a great option. The Spro Bucktail Jig comes in 16 different colors, so they will likely have the color you are looking for.

This lure has a unique head and eye shape that makes it look like a real fish. Its unique design allows it to glide through the water instead of falling or hanging straight down as some other bucktail jigs do. 

Use Berkley Gulp! As Bait

Adult fluke fish are opportunistic feeders, meaning they will eat whatever food is available to them at the time. However, some baits work better than others when surf fishing for fluke.

One of the most effective types of baits is artificial baits that mimic the scents of real fish. 

Many fishermen say that BerkleyOpens in a new tab. is the best company to get your artificial bait from. Berkley created a type of scented soft bait called Berkley Gulp! that can be used to catch a variety of fish, including fluke.  

Berkley’s baits are different from other artificial baits because they are made with water-based resins instead of oil-based Polyvinyl chloride, otherwise known as PVC (yes, like the stuff your pipes are made out of).

Since their bait is water-based, it can release it’s scent when it hits the water 400x fasterOpens in a new tab. than regular oil-based plastic bait (oil and water don’t mix, so oil-based baits release their scent much slowerOpens in a new tab.). 

In this videoOpens in a new tab. by author and fisherman John SkinnerOpens in a new tab., he tells you which Berkley Gulp baits he recommends fluke.

John typically rigs his hook with 4 inches (10.16 cm) Berkley Gulp! Swimming MulletOpens in a new tab. and the 3 inches (7.62 cm) Berkley Gulp! ShrimpOpens in a new tab.

If you’d like a more in-depth explanation of how to set up your rig with these baits, check out this videoOpens in a new tab. by John. 

John is not alone in recommending the Berkley swimming mullet and shrimp.

Another prominent fisherman and bait shop owner, named Elias Vaisberg, also recommends using these two Gulp products when fishing for fluke.

Check out this videoOpens in a new tab. to get an in-depth explanation of why he recommends this bait. 

The Gulp swimming mullet comes in four sizes, including 3,4, 5, or 6 inches. It also comes in 18 colors, including white or chartreuse, which is usually ideal colors for catching fluke.

The Gulp swimming mullet are great bait for catching all saltwater fish species because of their rapid scent dispersion and swimming tail action.

The bait costs anywhere from $5.79-$11.83, depending on which size you get. 

The Gulp shrimp is also a great bait for fluke. The shrimp was specially made to look and feel like a live shrimp.

Since the artificial shrimp very closely mimics a live shrimp, you can do all of the same rigs and techniques you would do with a live shrimp on this one as well.

It is incredibly durable and comes in 15 different colors, with prices ranging from $4.78 to $11.98. 

How to Reel Them In

Since fluke waits on the seafloor for prey, you should make sure your jig settles all the way down to the seafloor before you start to reel in. 

When the fluke is inshore, they tend to stay where the surf breaks.

In another videoOpens in a new tab. by fisherman John Skinner, he explains how fluke like to wait on the seafloor where the surf breaks to capture disoriented baitfish, crabs, and sand fleas who get tumbled in the surf.

So, you’ll want to put it right into the wave break when you cast your line. 

Once your jig is on the seafloor near the surf break, you’ll want to slowly reel-in to give the fluke a chance to get a good hold of the hook. 

Next, reel in the fish! Then voila, you’ve caught your fluke! 


Fluke fish are bottom-dwelling fish that can be found near the shore during the spring and summertime. To catch them, it is recommended that you use a bucktail jig and Berkley Gulp as bait.

Make sure your jig is on the seafloor and that you reel in slowly when catching fluke for the best results. 

Zaldy G.

I love feeling the cool ocean spray every time I hit the beach with a rod and a bucket of bait. I love the thrill of feeling bites on my line whenever I hook a big one. And I especially love the pride that comes with cooking a fresh catch and sharing it with my friends and family. Thank you for stopping by. Let's go catch some fish!

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