Joe Bielawski, Founder, Author, CEO
Saltwater Tackle & Tips.
Bottom Fishing Tips : Drifting
Deltona, Florida USA
For FLUKE, I use a custom made rig which is ‘THE’ PREMIER fluke bait/rig for drifting (my SUPER DOORMATTER LURE). This rig is also used when you have MODERATE to STRONG tides/currents/winds. I have used this as deep as 80 feet with outstanding success. You can also use it in medium to shallow water as long as the wind or current is medium velocity. Lots of deep-water critters like it too!
The leader is 40 inches long and should be tied 10-14 inches above the sinker.
The hook is a 4/0 Mustad kahle, bait saver, recurred bend. I tie this hook directly to the leader. I prefer a tied hook to a snelled one. Why? I can move the hook on the leader to position it for the most hook-setting area for the bait in use.
It uses the best VINYL 4.3/4 inch squid body, with eyes on the squid. I believe in eyes. FLUKE and other predators see them and attack much more ferociously.
The lure should have color coded attractors placed to keep the squid body open and undulating. The water flowing around the body makes the tentacles come alive.
A color-matched convex blade and beads give this rig that bait body color and movement that most DOORMAT-SIZED FLUKE are used to seeing.
The cupped, color-matching blade puts out a sound wave that calls fluke from large distances. The matching color PULSES and appears to the fluke as a wounded or hurt bait fish. This deep-cupped blade will turn and wobble when others stop and ruin the action.
<<<HINT>>><<<HINT>>><<<HINT>>> Remember that fish are curious and will be drawn to something that they hear and see.
To drift for other predator species and for Fluke in water <10ft use a similar lure without the blade and other attractors (see my DOORMAT LURE).
In deep water >30 ft glow is my 1st choice followed by GLOW or Blue sparkle or green/sparkle or pearl, then pink/red.
Inshore in the bays and inlets (<30 ft) for fluke, then you would start off with Pearl (bunker) , White/Sparkle( spearing) or Green/Sparkle (sand eel). Red again will catch lots of these fish later on in the season.
Try to match the color of existing bait fish in the area. I use the PEARL color when small, mostly white bait fish (bunker) are in the area.
WHITE with SPARKLES is used when glass minnows or spearing are schooled up. GREEN with SPARKLES is used when sand eels, mud minnows or brown/green baits are prevalent. Pink/red is great when shrimp or squid invade the area. On overcast days use colors that glow
DRIFTING TIPS FOR FLUKE
When this bait rig is fished high, it gets DOORMAT-SIZED fluke in attack mode. Tie it on to your main line 10-14 inches ABOVE the sinker ( I DO NOT use a 3-way swivel). I'll repeat... 10-14 inches ABOVE the sinker. Add bait as described above, making your bait strip in a pendant shape. Remember, make your bait strip in a pendant shape, and keep it at least 6 inches long. Be patient. The combination of bright colored skirts, matching colored blades with DEEP, DEEP, DEEP cups that make the blade turn SLOWLY causes the thumping and thrashing that gets those monsters turned on.
This placement of VINYL squid body or deer hair ATTRACTOR,+ spinner blade and bait adds not only color and movement, but also adds smell and natural bait oils to the presentation: Remember what I said about SIGHT, SMELL, and SOUND!!
<<<HINT>>><<<HINT>>><<<HINT>>>Increase your chances by DEAD STICKING one rod while actively fishing the other. A good drag is needed and the setup has to be right or you will lose the fluke of your life. DO NOT pick up the rod 'till the rod is racked over and line is spooling off the reel. Give that monster time. You must feed him on the DROP back. Don't hurry. Why lose a fish of a lifetime 'cause you didn't give that doormat enough time.
REMEMBER when you COMBINE DRIFTING (your DOORMATTER TYPE rig) with JIGGING (a CHROME BALL rig ), you are CREATING a scenario that few species can ignore.
<<<HINT>>><<<HINT>>><<<HINT>>> NEVER…NEVER…NEVER let your DOORMAT type bait rig get more than 30 feet from your boat. Why you ask? Because the further back you let this rig get, the closer to the bottom your bait gets and you HAVE EFFECTIVELY REMOVED your bait from most fish’s eyesight.
Bring plenty of bait to whack 'n stack 'em. Squid is the old standby, but I prefer mackerel strips because they last longer, have a stronger scent, and flash better. Any bait fish can be used. Cut these strips 3/4 inch wide, 6 - 8 in long and to a point. Put this strip on the hook ONLY once and through the wide part. When using a mackerel strip, or baitfish fillet, put it on the hook SKIN SIDE up. That makes the strip lay flat behind the hook so it can’t flip up and cover the hook barb. I usually taper the cut bait to make it look like a pendant, adding more movement to the bait rig. Then add a live killie or mud minnow after the bait strip. Hook the mud minnow from the bottom up through the lips and out the front to one side of either eye. This makes the live minnow jerk from side to side just like a hurt bait fish ....EASY MEAT
When using sand eels or spearing or dead bait, put 3 or 4 on the hook, through the eyes. Why? The baits lie on their sides, and the drift or jig makes the bait flash and wiggle better. The traditional way is to bring the hook out under the mouth but this way the fish just follows along in a straight line, unable to flash and swing from side to side.
<<<HINT>>><<<HINT>>><<<HINT>>> DON’T use small baits. You want BIG FISH? BIG FISH WANT BIG FOOD, so give them a big presentation. Big baits in deep water – BIG BAITS are your key. Big Baits = Big Fluke.
<<<HINT>>><<<HINT>>><<<HINT>>> Increase your odds. use CHUM when anchored. Use ground up bunker, spearing, sand eels, mullet or any type of bait fish that has an oily consistency. As you mash up and chill this bait fish for chum, add silver flecks to it. When on the grounds, hang this in a mesh bag. As the chum dissipates, the silver flecks will float further down tide, catching the eyes of Mr. Doormatter. FLUKE are SIGHT FEEDERS. You can't catch them if they don’t see it and smell it. Doormat-sized fluke will be drawn in far from the chum line because they WILL SEE the silver flecks from far greater distances than the chum line.