New Englander’s call them fluke. Southerners call them flounder. Wherever they swim, these doormats are big, aggressive bottom-dwelling flat fish with a white belly, camouflaged topside and a mouth full of jagged teeth. Millions of years of evolution has designed flounder as the perfect ambush predator, lying on the bottom with their eyes, like two periscopes, scanning the water.
The flounder’s ambush strategy requires an angler to bring his lure to the fish. YouTube phenom, Elias Vaisberg has several fluke videos on his EliasVFishing channel, but I had to ask him for his secret.
Vaisberg says his typical approach is vertically jigging a jighead and softplastic off the bottom. “Use the lightest line and the lightest jigs that will hit bottom,” he suggests. The light line and lure have a more erratic action than a heavier jig, further enticing sharp-eyed fluke. Moreover, light braided line drops through the water easier and a light jig has less chance of snagging the structure.
Vaisberg starts by casting the jig up current, letting it fall then bouncing it off the bottom as the kayak drifts over the structure. He watches his fish finder for depth changes and reels in line or lets it out to keep the lure directly below the kayak. “I catch plenty of fluke that way,” Vaisberg says.
The tactic works great when the current is moving. As the current drops out, drifting the lure won’t cover enough ground to encounter a fluke. One option is cast and retrieve the lure, but that seems to reduce the chance of feeling the fish bite and increase the chance of snagging the structure.
Vaisberg’s solution is power trolling in reverse. “Pedaling in reverse simulates a drift,” he explains. Dropping the lure to the bottom, he pedals backwards while bouncing the lure with short hops. This keeps his line in front of the kayak and the lure directly below the boat. “Bump trolling in reverse makes it easier to control my presentation and set the hook.”
This tactic is a more forgiving over structure. Not only is the line taught, so Vaisberg can feel the bottom, but if he gets snagged, he just pedals forward to free the lure.
By slowly pedaling around the reef, Vaisberg covers more water, delivering his lure to hungry fluke waiting below. Once the current picks up, he can return to drifting over the structure.
Flat out fun. | Featured photo: Courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK