Catching bigger fluke

Posted 6/5/24

Summer flounder or fluke fishing started to pick up this week off our southern coastal shoreline. Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown said last week, “The fluke bite is slow but …

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Catching bigger fluke


Summer flounder or fluke fishing started to pick up this week off our southern coastal shoreline. Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown said last week, “The fluke bite is slow but anglers are working to catch large fish.  We weighed in an 11 pounder caught off the beaches.” So, there are big fish to be caught.

“In the spring they are in 25 feet of water but as the water warms, they go down deeper to 45 to 100 feet of water. I am a firm believer to figure out what the fluke are eating and then strip up that as bait.  It could be bluefish, black sea bass, fluke bellies, menhaden, or sea robins,” said Jeff Sullivan of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren. “I use light tackle,  20-pound braid so you can get down will less scope. I use squig rigs often with jigs and often with a second stinger hook.”

Mike Wade, owner of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly said, “I like to dead stick with live bait with a rod off the stern. I usually use mummies with a sinker rig. It is amazing how many big fish this rig catches.  That said, my favorite rig is an inline swivel to a 12-inch dropper look, a large bean jig and often a Jack Pot Digger Jig with a 30 inch flyer with a Tsunami Holographic squid and a mustard hook.”

Fluke expert Peter Johnson of Connecticut said, “I use 15-pound braid, jigs and stingers tipped with gulp and sometimes squid strips. Keep it light.”

In Rhode Island the fluke regulation this year is a 19-inch minimum size, six fish/person/day with special shore areas where anglers are allowed two 17-inch fish. In Massachusetts the minimum size 17.5 inches from a boat and 16.5 inches from shore with a four fish/person/day limit,

Here are some fluke tips from the experts:

Fluke face into the current to feed, so you want to drag your bait over the front of them, drifting with the tide and wind in the same direction when in a boat or slowing pulling your bait over the bottom when on land.

Fish edges of structure or transition areas near jetties and bridges, channels, banks, underwater valleys, humps and bumps as big fish ambush bait there.

When it comes to fluking, squid is the bait of choice. Some anglers cut it in very fine strips yet others like to use the whole squid with others using what they catch that day… strips of bluefish, sea robin, scup, etc.

Find the fish and repeat the pattern… drifting over the same location or depth that is yielding fish.

So when targeting fluke do your homework, plan where you will fish first, second, third, etc. the night before based on recent wind forecast and tide.  You will be rewarded with some lager keeper fluke, as well as black sea bass and scup.

Where’s the bite?

“Freshwater fishing  for trout has been good in recently stocked ponds,” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence. Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick, said, “The largemouth bass bite with spinner baits and shiners had been very good at Johnston’s Pond and Gorton Pond, Warwick.”

Striped bass and bluefish.  Parker Mandes of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly, said, “Stripers to 50-inches are being caught on Westerly reefs feeding on sandeels, anchovies and 4-inch squid that is prolific in the area.” “Some large bluefish and striped bass are being caught in the Bay with areas around Gould Island producing well. Trolling tube & worm is producing but what is really  working well for customers are umbrella rigs, “said Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box. 

Henault of Ocean State Tackle, said, “Anglers are hooking up with large bass in the mid and upper Bay using pogies and flutter spoons with kayak anglers being successful trolling tube & worm.” 

Declan O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & Tackle, Charlestown, said, “Rain bait, small bait covering the south shore and enough of it to have some schools moving around uninterrupted. silversides, sandeels, and bay anchovies are mostly what these schools consist of. Among the stripers and bluefish shad, fluke and sea bass are targeting this bait as well. Fishing for bass has slowed down during the day but fish can still be had. First and last light continue to produce better results for shore guys. Boat guys are using live eels and topwater plugs to entice bigger fish. There have also been some good-sized bluefish mixed in.”

Tautog. The spring tautog season ended on May 31 in Rhode Island for the spawning season and will reopen August 1. In Massachusetts, the catch limit drops to one fish/person/day from June 1 to July 31. In both states the open season limit changes on August 1 with a three fish/person/day limit, 16 to 21-inch slot with one fish allowed to be over 21 inches.

Summer Flounder (fluke), black sea bass and scup. “The fluke bite improved off Newport this weekend with no fluke being caught in the Bay yet. And, the scup bite is way off. I have heard ‘Where are the fluke?,’ from a number of customers,” said Giddings of the Tackle Box. 

O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & Tackle, said, “Fluke are starting to show up with some consistency a mix of shorts t o just keeper size locally with a few 4-5 pounders with Block Island holding bigger fish and the bite seems to be in around 70 feet of water out there. Locally fish are being caught anywhere from 55-15 feet of water. Even a few keepers have been pulled out of the salt ponds. Black sea bass still seem to be in deep water off of the beaches and around Block Island but some have been caught in 30 feet of water. Scup just started to arrive in coastal water. they can be a bit tight lipped this time of year.” 

“Fluke are being caught all along the southern coastal beeches from boats. A lot of shorts with some nice keepers mixed in. We even caught one from shore this week,” said Parker Mandes of Watch Hill Outfitters.

Dave Monti holds a master captain’s license and charter fishing license. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions and has a consulting business focusing on clean oceans, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries related issues and clients. Forward fishing news and photos to or visit

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