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April 26, 2013

Northeast Fluke Fishing

A guidebook to the East Coast's top summer flounder haunts.

Cape Cod 

Swift currents define the area in and around the Cape and the outer islands that continually push feeding flatfish around with the tides, where they gobble up disoriented schools of baitfish and crustaceans drifting with the flow. The omnipresent currents effectively remove the soft, topical layer of sand, exposing hard, packed-sand shoals as well as more-dense gravel fields where fluke lie in wait. The Cape’s hard-bottom oasis of gravel patches attracts larger-model fluke to root down to pick through bottom-dwelling crabs and chase down squid schools. In order to effectively hold bottom, dedicated fluke hounds target 50- to 80-foot depths of the sound when the water is slack, and then move into the shallows as the current begins to flow during midtide hours. 

Top Technique: Bouncing 1- to 6-ounce chrome ball with 5-inch leader fixed with 4-inch swimming mullet along the bottom

Hot Spots: Nantucket Lumps, Vineyard Sound, Lucas Shoal, Iron Pile

Who: Capt. Joe Huckmeyer, 508-790-0660, helen-h.com

Captain’s Tip: Fish the Iron Pile around the commercial conch pots, as traps are set around a submerged barge, and the pot baits, in turn, attract nickel- and dime-size crabs, which fluke then home in on.

Welcome Doormats

Perfect camouflage patterns mimicking a sandy seafloor, a pebble ground or even a rusty wreck are tricks summer flounder use to evade predators or hide in wait for prey, though those crafty patterns will not help them when trying to outwit fluke hunters who are determined to pull them up from the depths and place them in an ice-cold cooler. Follow this guide, and you can hit the top East Coast spots with the right stuff to pull doormats of 8 to 16 pounds, along with a good share of 3- to 7-pounders, this spring and summer.