Add the power of calamari incandescence to your fluke offering.
The past few seasons, I’ve come upon an effective rig for fluke where glow-in-the-dark soft plastic squid are a big part of the magic. They can be found pre-rigged at your local well-stocked tackle shop, along with the needed materials for do-it-yourselfers such as bodies, fluorescent beads, lines, leaders, barrel swivels, and hooks.
The nice part about rigging your own terminal tackle is that you get to select what you wish, like the type of hook. There are many on the market: Gamakatsu in Octopus-Red – sizes #1 to 2/0 is a favorite of mine, along with Owner, Mustad, VMC, and Eagle Claw hooks. Equally important is your leader material. Using fluorocarbon in lieu of monofilament certainly can’t hurt and just might make a difference some days. In setting up your single glow squid rig, you do not need a lot of hardware or fancy hi-lo spinner rigs with a multitude of beads. Start with a single 1/0 or 2/0 fluke hook and two fluorescent beads: one set just below the glow squid to prevent the lure from working itself down the shank of the hook, which would thwart the imitation’s tentacles from fluttering freely; the other bead set atop the artificial, serving as an attractor. A 40-inch length of 15- to 30-pound test fluorocarbon leader tied to your main line, along with a dropper loop large enough to accommodate different sized sinkers (positioned in the middle of the leader) will work well. When you’ve finished snelling your hook, forming a dropper loop for a sinker, and tying on a barrel swivel, you’ll have a rig approximately 30 inches long.
Two of your best baits for fluke are live mummichogs (killies) and fresh squid—if you can get the latter. Otherwise, fresh frozen will certainly suffice. A pair of half-inch wide tapering strips of squid, approximately 4 inches long is the ticket. Cut three-quarters of the way up the middle of each strip in order to create a nice fluttering action. When fastening the strip to the hook, avoid creating a crease near the top of the flesh. Once through the end will keep it nice and flat. To top off the bait combo, use live mummichogs (killies), hooked through the lips, especially the darker more colorful males. They are usually dark green or olive with a yellowish underside. Frozen spearing or sand eels hooked through the eye will, of course, catch fluke, too, but not in the same numbers as live bait. Therefore, a killie trap is the ticket. Set one from dockside or shoreline with the skeletal remains (frames) of any fish you’ve cleaned (I keep several frames frozen in plastic zip-lock bags.) and you’re in business. If there are killies in the area, you’ll have enough for a day’s outing within an hour. Before I had built-in baitwells aboard our boat, I kept the killies alive in a battery-operated Min-O2-Life Bait Station Cooler with portable aerator; model #1404, manufactured by Frabill. Two Duracell D-cell alkaline batteries (not included) power a high-volume diaphragm-drive air pump to ensure an oxygenated environment for approximately 80 hours. Frabill claims that their model #1404 Bait Station cooler “effectively sustains two to three times the volume of bait kept in standard minnow buckets.” An important feature is its non-kink air hose feature. Bend or twist an ordinary line back upon itself, and kiss that live bait good-bye. Location, location, location—coupled to structure, structure, structure—is what it’s all about. Consult your charts and look for sudden drop-offs and troughs. If you can’t pick up a drift along its edge, then cross those points and be ready for a hookup. If you can run parallel to a sand bar, then do so. Not to have a depth recorder and current navigation charts aboard is asking for trouble.
Editor’s Note: Bob Banfelder is an award-winning crime-thriller novelist & outdoors writer. He is a member of the Outdoor Writer’s Association of America and the New York State Outdoors Writers Association. Visit www.robertbanfelder.com.