It’s hard to beat a day when the fish are actively feeding and strike with each aggressive pursuit of a lure. Days like those allow anglers to use many different lures and cover a lot of water quickly. Many anglers will tie on a spinnerbait or a shallow crankbait to produce bites, and these choices are famous for doing just that. One of my favorite baits to throw when granted such an opportunity, however, is the fluke. I love the versatility that flukes possess, both in rigging choice, and in how you work them on the retrieve, and learning all the ways this plastic bait can put fish in your livewell is something every angler should consider.
For those of you who may not be familiar with them, flukes are soft plastic baits that are molded to imitate minnows. Like most soft plastic baits on the market, flukes are available in a variety of scents, patterns, and styles. Their long, tapered bodies provide great action in the water and quality products resemble minnows so well that it’s difficult to distinguish the two in some cases.
There are few baits that can boast such versatility, in terms of rigging, as the fluke. Texas-rigs, Carolina-rigs, wacky style, drop-shot, a jighead—they’re all easily accomplished with the fluke and they all do a great job of enticing fish. My personal favorite way to rig a fluke is with a jighead that has a short hook shank, which I’ll then cast out. The short hook shank leaves more of the fluke’s body free to bend and move erratically in the water. During the retrieve, I’ll vary my speed, jerk the rod tip left and right, or twitch my wrist slightly every so often; all of which make the bait respond with a sudden, undulating and darting action. Any jighead will work, but one that I suggest trying out one day is called a Scrounger jighead. These little beauties possess plastic bills that stand up vertically from the jighead, and cause the bait to wobble side to side in the water. On a steady retrieve, this action looks amazing and yields great results!
The basic concept behind the fluke—and any other lure, for that matter—is to fish it in a way that emulates the prey item that it looks like. Flukes are made to look like shad or minnows, prey that can behave in a variety of ways. Cast it out and let it sink slowly, occasionally twitching the rod softly, to imitate a dying minnow. With a jighead attached, you can cast and then speedily reel it back in while pointing your rod tip left and right, which gives the bait the appearance of a fleeing baitfish. It may sound cliché, but the possibilities really are endless!
Crankbaits, swimbaits, and spinnerbaits are all great lures to throw when the fish are feeding actively, but don’t forget about that soft plastic wonder, the fluke. When jerked and twitched in the water, the fluke imitates a fleeing or dying minnow perfectly, and can be made to look more convincing than the real thing. Try it out this season and experiment with all the different ways to rig and retrieve a fluke. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.