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AviD
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« on: July 08, 2007, 09:23:38 PM »

So I've been thinking about the things that confuse me about fluke and thought I'd ask a series of questions that might prove interesting for others on here...let me know what you guys think.

I'll be honest, I don't know a ton about locating them...and am only starting to learn more about nautical charts and electronics.  I'm very much used to head boat and charter captains locating the fish and never paid much mind to how they did it, since I can't see their electronics most of the time and never really had the interesting in understanding it in great detail.  Now I find that to be different (especially since fishing with Charlie aka catfish hunter) where there is a lot of satisfaction in peeling through charts and finding the fish...that part of the game seems more satisfactory than even catching them at times!


Anyway, here's a set of questions...

1) Do fluke constantly travel?  You hear of guys saying they drift over fish, over and over the same spot all day long and catch keepers...yet I find (such as this past weekend) we drift over fish, they are there once and not there or not hitting on the very next drift...even crossing over the same waypoints.

2) When considering channels, do fluke move with the current or against it?  i.e. Do they travel with the current as it is incoming and out with the current when it is outgoing?  Or vice versa?

3) At what depth does color and flash become moot...or does it ever become moot?  Some guys say fluke can't see well past 30-40 feet...yet I'd find that to be highly variable given the condition of the water clarity and the skies/sun.  Clearly color and flash has some impact on triggering a fluke to strike, but at what capacity and what depth does color and flash become a moot issue?


4) Do you find fluke lay on top of hills?  The bottom of holes?  The middle of either?  The center?  The highest/lowest point?  The opposite side of a hill to catch a break from the current? The same side of a hill to be in the most current?


Just some questions for thought...I'm sure others have questions of their own...if so, please post along...maybe we can get a helpful Q&A going from those that might know the answers to some questions and also have some of their own.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2007, 09:25:45 PM by AviD » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2007, 09:28:55 PM »

Nice topic avid..  I'll post this up on the front page ==== thumbsup2

This should be a good one.
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« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2007, 09:29:28 PM »

they seemed to move ths weekend ,we hit 3 waypoints in a row and had no luck but some smaller fish .why do we hit 25-26 inchers one drift and the next we get 16's on the same exact marks
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IrishAyes
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« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2007, 10:20:40 PM »

In reference to question number four.  I know for a fact that fluke can be anywhere in relation to a lump. 
I fish the lumps quite often and when I arrive on a lump I intend to fish I will always start the drift at up current side of a lump, drift across the lump and then off the other side.  I have found fluke at all of the above mentioned spots at different days.  I don't know what dictates what part of the lump they will be on.  When I do find the part of the lump where I hook up with fish, I will then tighten my drift accordingly. 
That is my experience with lumps/rises.
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Capt. Ed
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« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2007, 10:45:12 PM »

Hi AviD,

Not much time this evening but here are some "things to consider":

Question 1: Fluke, in general, are migratory. They travel east to west. Studies have shown that they actually move "more north" each time they migrate west. When you drift an area more than once and catch, than there is a reason for it. They are holding on or near bait and usually near some sort of structure. Remember, structure can be anything from rocks, to wrecks, to mussel beds to lumps and ridges.

Question 2: Fluke are, if nothing else, a great AMBUSH PREDATOR. They lie in wait, usually into the current, and even change color to match the bottom. When a fluke comes up on my boat in an area I am not too familiar with, I look at the color to note the makeup of the bottom. That can give me clues to what they may be feeding on. BTW, in deeper water, when you find the squid, you will find the dorrmats.

Question 3: I say that all the "jewelry" people put on their rigs is crap. Color instantly starts washing out, even in clear water, as you descend.

Guys - catching fish is all about presentation! If you have the right type of bait and present it properly, the catching comes!

Question 4: It depends on a lot of things like water temperature; speed of current; water clarity; etc. Early in the Spring, they tend to feed in dark bottom areas in the shallows (warmer water). As the water gradually warms, they head toward deeper water. It is a general rule that they will feed into the current but I have caught them trolling into the current and across it. They are mobile and do feed in all the water column, including on top. Of course, they are more vulnerable at the surface, so it is not observed as frequently as them lying on the bottom. The fish tend to "school (if you can call it that" as youngsters but become "loaners" as they grow (SCUBA observation). BTW, there are fluke here all winter long, although they do mate near the continental shelf.

Question 5: Why are we taking all the females?
Fluke that are less than 16 inches can be male or female. After the 16 inch size they usually are female. So why do fisheries management people keep increasing the size limit? Because their data is flawed; their approach is flawed; and they are "hacks" as scientists. PERIOD!

I concentrate on doormats (over 10 lbs.) and I am all about fishing very "sticky" areas. If I am not losing gear, I am in the wrong area. My boat has a huge number of 10 lbers. to its record!

Oh yeah, fluke ribbons (but not now that they are not legal to use); live snappers; smelts; killies; spearing/squid; mackeral strips; sand fleas ("diggers") are my favorite baits (in that order).

I think anything that is alive is best or just killed for bait. I also try not to handle the bait that much.

What else would you like my opinion on? BTW, I am just starting to get interested in this fishery. I find that mid-July to the "official end of the season" present opportunities that I am intersted in. Before that, the sharpies fish the rivers and score well. That fishing is not intersting to me.

Thanks,

Capt. Ed
« Last Edit: July 08, 2007, 10:52:00 PM by Capt. Ed » Logged
AviD
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« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2007, 10:58:03 PM »

Great feedback so far guys!  thumbs up


Another question:

Why does it seem like every big fish...say 5#+ always seems to have an empty stomach while the smaller ones are all gorged with baitfish (crabs, sandeels, etc)?


And another:

Quote
Guys - catching fish is all about presentation! If you have the right type of bait and present it properly, the catching comes!

What is the "ideal" presentation?
If it varies, what dictates your presentation style?


Quote
concentrate on doormats (over 10 lbs.) and I am all about fishing very "sticky" areas. If I am not losing gear, I am in the wrong area. My boat has a huge number of 10 lbers. to its record!

I assume based on your above answer that you are fishing just weight and bait with the baits you had mentioned?  Not a bucktailer or chrome baller?
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Capt. Ed
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« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2007, 11:11:00 PM »

Hi AviD,

Question 1: Competition ... I think the smaller fish are more aggressive feeding. I think the "big ones" eat less times and when you catch them, they were in a feeding mode.

Best Presentation: A rig that allows the bait to look natural in the water. I use fishfinder rigs when GREAT barrel swivels so that bait does not spin or get hung upside down. I vary the leader length and lb. test according to conditions ... that is something most people (except sharpies and good captains) ignore. Also, please use enough weight to get the bait into the zone. I bet that most people that don't catch use too little weight ... the analogy I give is a golfer. Almost all golfers (non-professionals) always come up short to a pin on an approach shot because they plan for the best shot they can have rather than average or bad. Most golfers need to "use more club" like most fisherman need more lead.

Rigs: I finally found a bucktail (with a reasonable size hook) in 8 ozs. (I do not use the chrome ball). The bucktail is made by Mai Tai. So I can now adjust my tactics. I think that besides the Ava 47 and the black and school bus bombers, bucktails are the best jigs/lures. I use a 4/0 Kahle hook snelled to a 30" (to start), 15-30lb. leader (depending on conditions) tied to a SPRO barrel swivel (or SAMPO with a bearing) ... a fishfinder is above sandwiched between 2 #8 red or orange beads not for presentaion but to protect my mainline at the barrel swivel knot and protect the rod tip. The areas I fish we start with 8 ozs. of lead usually. My biggest is 16.5 lbs and I have caught 21 over 10 lbs. with that rig. Over the years, the rod and reel have changed but the common thing is the rig. I prefer to use conventional combos (today I like the Shimano Tekota 500 with a 6'6" Shimano Compre spooled with 50 lb. Power Pro).

Thanks,

Capt. Ed
« Last Edit: July 08, 2007, 11:16:52 PM by Capt. Ed » Logged
AviD
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« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2007, 11:21:17 PM »

Good feedback Ed, I was going to ask what a GREAT swivel is...I use mostly SPRO barrels, never tried the SAMPOs...Tsunamis seem OK.  Main thing being avoiding the spins...which is both swivel and bait (rigging/straightness) dependent.

I assume you start with 30" and work your way smaller for current needs to avoid spinning and also to keep the bait close to the bottom?

The weight thing isn't what baffles me, I can keep the bait on the bottom.  It's the rest of the rigging I've been experimenting with...everything from simple weight to a snelled hook with plain bait to my latest intricate and overboard 3-way swivel to a chrome ball or bucktail on one end, and a leader to a snelled hook with a teaser above it...which has been doing well, but I'm struggling with big fish...I seem to catch a ton of fish and do well with keepers...just nothing big.  Maybe just too much flash going on attracting the aggressive smaller fish and not enough big/slow/prodding baits to attract the more stealthy bigger fish.

More experimentation needed...
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Capt. Ed
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« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2007, 11:29:01 PM »

Hi AviD,

I once in a while play with a three swivel and various bucktail/chrome ball configs. There is one config that I am working with that if it works out, I will post.

I think you are not catching big fish because of where you are fishing. People are lucking out into one here ... one there. I think that the big fish are in the estuaries or are still a bit offshore. When you see the commercial draggers working in force, you chances are at hand.

Until I can get some snappers and the deep water holds fish, I am just passing my time.

I would not worry about the size right now ... worry about technique. Oh yeah, just to say this one more time. I can not tell you how many of these large fish spit the hook in the net. It is hard to get a hook to penetrate their jaws. To increase your odds, sharpen the hooks and keep the line tight, especially when netting time comes. Also, you may know this already, but always net it headfirst. We have boated fish that spit the hook but swam forward right into the net.

Good luck,

Capt. Ed
« Last Edit: July 08, 2007, 11:31:22 PM by Capt. Ed » Logged
AviD
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« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2007, 11:38:15 PM »

Yep, always net head first and fast...no slow going in after them with the net...those bad boys will dive fast and you'll drive that net right into the leader or they'll swim backwards and out of reach and then dive...gotta be quick!  thumbs up

Hook wise, I've been fishing 5/0 Gamis and am thinking about stepping up to 6/0s for both the sturdier hook and the ability to stick better in a big fish's mouth.  Fluke, afterall have pretty large mouths...and when you get in the 5+ lb range a 6/0 is nothing.

What's your rig of choice for fishing snappers or macks?  You fishing a sliding snell?  You snell the slider to the leader or to the top hook?

You touch on another interesting point...we see those random big ones come over the rail, say 8-12#ers and think MAN that guy must be doing something right...so you look at his rig and start trying to mimic it.  The funny thing is, 9 out of 10 times, the fish over 8# I've seen have been caught on just plain hooks with bait (a lot of times just squid and spearing)...other times fluke belly, and many times snappers, tinkers, big smelts, or herring.  I've seen many good sized fish come on bucktails, but it seems like the majority hover in the 4-8# range more so than 8#+...could just be a lack of data on my part though!  Grin
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« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2007, 11:53:24 PM »

Hi AviD,

I do not change the hooks for snappers or mackeral.

Although I tie all types of stinger rigs, I do not use them. They look pretty in the rig carrier (which is a worm bag from Shimano BTW).

One thing to consider and I am pretty much done for now ...

It is my observation from SCUBA diving that lobsters and doormat Fluke like wooden wrecks. For what its worth and for your consideration when looking at charts ...

Thanks for the topic ... it was fun!

Capt. Ed
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AviD
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« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2007, 12:04:18 AM »

Thanks for all the replies and info Ed, I appreciate it, I'm sure we all do!  thumbs up
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Capt. Ed
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« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2007, 12:19:45 AM »

Hi AviD,

I like your analytical approach ... keep the questions coming ... I have to prepare for too many long meetings tomorrow.

Then we can talk Fluke again (LOL)!

Ed
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AviD
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« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2007, 12:56:01 AM »

Will do!

I'm definitely highly analytical, always trying to put the pieces of puzzles together.  Hah, you should have seen me tearing apart the nautical charts of the Raritan Bay and Sandy Hook last week for fluking spots.  I'm pretty new to that water, so I really don't know it at all...but we've been doing OK on keeper numbers just not so much on size...but like you said just a little early yet.

The big fish have always puzzled me, I can't even tell you how many fish I've caught in my life (29 going on 30) but I just never seem to hook into the big ones...I've seen them caught (up to about 11# personally)...try to figure out what those guys are doing differently...and many times it's not much...but I hate believing it's just luck, so I try to figure it out!  That "figuring out" has certainly increasing my hookups and keeper counters, but hasn't brought the big fish my way yet.  Of course living inland now, it's hard for me to keep on top of the bait and able to get live ones before heading out (mainly snappers or tinkers down South more when they are in).

We'll talk more, hopefully some others will jump in and throw some more ideas around too!  thumbs up
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Luna Sea 5
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« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2007, 06:52:30 AM »

i was going to reply this this tread, but there is nothing else for me to add, the information is perfect.
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AviD
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« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2007, 10:32:22 AM »

Anyone have any further input or ideas?  Surprised this didn't take off more.

Let's talk leader and it's application.

How many guys are using mono vs fluoro?
What pound test are you using for fluking?
What dictates what pound test you are using?
Do you see a significant difference in the "bite" based on what pound test you use?

Personally I tend to use 20# Vanish fluoro (cheap and seems to work OK), but have been experimenting with 30# Seaguar fluoro and just picked up some 25# Seaguar fluoro as well.  Since using the 30#, my hook-ups have decreased a little bit, but it's limited experience, since I've only fished with it on one and a half days...so it could just be the day and me being "off"...although I did catch a good number of fish still, but less than my previous 4 or 5 trips with the 20# Vanish.


Capt Ed mentioned above using 15# to 30# depending on the application...what kind of leader do you use Ed, and when do you use each?

Do you think fluoro leader is important for fluke?
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« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2007, 11:26:39 AM »

Matt, I know we spoke abouyt the teasers I have been tying yesterday and I think I have had some limited success with them.. I am just wondering if I am concentrating to much on the teasers and should be focusing more on just a single hook on a fish finder rig?? I fish a fish finder rig with the easer at the end and a hook attached to a dropper between 12 to 18" above the teaser usually with some type of gulp..I would hate to lose the teasers but would I do better with just a plain hook and big bait??

Captian ED, how do you adjust your leader selection? Deeper water/ faster current= shorter leader??





 
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« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2007, 12:01:59 PM »

Matt, I know we spoke abouyt the teasers I have been tying yesterday and I think I have had some limited success with them.. I am just wondering if I am concentrating to much on the teasers and should be focusing more on just a single hook on a fish finder rig?? I fish a fish finder rig with the easer at the end and a hook attached to a dropper between 12 to 18" above the teaser usually with some type of gulp..I would hate to lose the teasers but would I do better with just a plain hook and big bait??

Captian ED, how do you adjust your leader selection? Deeper water/ faster current= shorter leader??





 
your correct with the leader.  The length of the leader depends on the scope or angle that your fishing.  A teaser always works, but does it work better then a plain hook.....  Huh?  It all depends on the day....  On my hook above my spro, I use a single hook with 1 little floating ball on it.
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« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2007, 12:43:38 PM »

In the bay, river and tight to the beach I'll use #20 mono. For deep ocean water or fishing around ocean structure (usually I'm bucktailing) I'll bump it up to #30.

If I'm bucktailing shallow water (20' or less) then it's #15.

IMHO, no reason to use flurocarbon when fluking.

I like using the straight leader material (as opposed to coiled leader material).

If there is a fast current I'll shorten my leader and use a longer leader in a slow current.
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« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2007, 10:51:59 PM »

Hi All,

Missed this also ...

1. How many guys are using mono vs fluoro?

I use Izorline or fluorocarbon. I don't think the fluorocarbon makes a big difference but in tournaments, it helps my mental state. No particular need to use it. I think it is crtical with some larger species such as tuna!

I love Izorline as it is soft, strong, resists coling, made of cool "space age material" and  I like the owner and his staff.

2. What pound test are you using for fluking?

In the ocean on sticky stuff, 20-30 lb. (mostly 20 lb. on fun trips and 30 in tournaments). I am getting fouled in structure alot and I would rather break off the hook than the weight with a fishfinder rig so I try to use 20 whenever possible. It is a good compromise for me.

In shallow water, 15-20 lb. (sometimes less when I know it will be real shallow and I want to be Sportsmanlike).

I have fly fished for fluke with 8 lb. leader.

3. What dictates what pound test you are using?

Where I am fishing.

4. Do you see a significant difference in the "bite" based on what pound test you use?

No.

I shorten the leader, as do most folks, when the current is ripping. Although, I do try a lot of experimenting during a hard SE breeze and a slow bite. I have actually tried very long leaders in strong current but have no opinion yet.

When the deep water Fluke season starts (hopefully soon), I will try a long leader with a suspended or floating artificial crab in strong and "normal" currents.

At the end of the day, for me, feeling confident and comfortable with my choice is important. I will NEVER say that I could have caught more or better if I had this or that. Fear and doubt are bad, at least for me! Start simple and change if that is not working.

Ed
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