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How to Fish a Fluke: The Overlooked Finesse Trailer

Written by: Pete D
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Experienced bass anglers know that giving the fish something they don’t see every weekend improves the odds of a strike. And while everyone else throws every variety of crankbait, jerkbait, Senko, and spinner, they reach for something else.

What’s that magic alternative, you ask?

The fluke!

Shaped like a fish and sporting a wriggling, vibrating tail, the fluke is a versatile soft plastic that can be rigged and fished like a Senko or worm, ripped like a jerkbait, or equipped with a spinner or scrounger head to offer something entirely new. 

The results are amazing, and you need to give the fluke a try the next time you hit the water.

But if you’re not sure how to fish a fluke, keep reading!

We’ll cover the basics and get you up to speed in no time.

Related: 

What is a Fluke?

Watermelon Red Pearl

My secret weapon? “Watermelon Red Pearl!”

Flukes are simple soft plastic jerk baits with a streamlined shape and long, thin, forked tail. 

That basic shape and size mimics prey items like shad and bluegill, and from any angle, that’s the silhouette that gets bass thinking dinner time.

But that long tail is magic, offering subtle vibrations that take almost nothing to get thumping.

Fluke size and color: your best options

No company makes a better fluke than Zoom, and whether you prefer the standard, the super salty, or the Magnum, they’ve got you covered with colors that work.

My preference is to run a 5-inch fluke for largemouth, skipping the big boys and leaving the tiny flukes for crappie.

I find that this length is big enough to get attention and I like how it works in the water.

My favorite colors include “Watermelon Red Pearl”, “Albino”, “Smokin Shad”, and “Chartreuse Pearl”.

Zoom Bait Salty Super Fluke Bait-Pack of 10 (Water Red Pearl, 5-Inch)

Amazon 

Zoom Bait Salty Super Fluke Bait-Pack of 10 (Albino, 5-Inch), One Size (023-091)

Amazon 

Zoom Bait Salty Super Fluke Bait-Pack of 10 (Smokin Shad, 5-Inch)

Amazon 

Zoom Bait Salty Super Fluke Bait-Pack of 10 (Chartruese Pearl, 5-Inch)

Amazon 

Vary your color choice to reflect the water conditions you encounter.

I choose “Watermelon Red Pearl” and “Smokin Shad” in clear water, where their natural hues and eye-catching flakes are just what I need. “Albino” and “Chartreuse Pearl” are my stained and muddy water arsenal, offering plenty of color against a muted background.

Fluke Tackle: Rod, Reel, and Line

If I’m fishing a power technique like Texas or Carolina rigging, you’ll find me working a medium-heavy rod with a fast tip.

One of my favorites is the Dobyns Fury Series FR 703C. It’s affordably priced, light, strong, and sensitive. It’ll turn heads on and under the water, and it’s what you’re looking for when you’re working the bottom with a slow-moving technique that relies more on a hard hookset than true finesse.

Here at USAngler, we’re also big fans of St. Croix, and the St. Croix Mojo Bass is simply a great rod for the money. It loads and casts well, fights like Mike Tyson in his prime, and delivers premium performance without breaking the bank.

Pair these rods with a quality casting reel like the high-speed version of the Daiwa Tatula CT, and don’t look back.

For finesse techniques, spinning tackle is definitely the way to go as it offers superior casting with light rigs and much greater sensitivity.

For my flukes, I prefer a 6 ½- to 7-foot rod in medium light to medium power, like the St. Croix Premier. I’m looking for a fast action to provide extra sensitivity, and of course, that rod will be wearing a high-quality spinning reel like a Shimano Vanford or Pflueger President.

In clear water, I reach for high-quality fluorocarbon leaders, backed by strong braid.

20-pound Power Pro or Sufix 832 is never amiss for either technique, and I typically use a leader made from 15- to 20-pound Seaguar InvizX to provide some shock absorption. That fluoro is also really tough stuff, and it'll cut down on break-offs due to abrasion.

It’s also great for line-shy fish when the water looks like liquid glass. 

Hot Fluke Techniques 

Flukes work best when they're nice and straight, but they’ll often come cramped and curved in a package.

Don’t worry. Just heat up some water in a pot, get it just boiling, and drop your flukes in for 10 to 15 seconds. Scoop them out and they’ll be ready to go!

Jerk it weightless

Flukes are essentially soft plastic jerkbaits, so treat them like one.

Rig your fluke of choice on a 4/0 Gamakatsu EWG worm hook, keeping the pint just sliding along the outside of your bait.

weightless fluke with the hook point exposed

Unless I’m working heavy cover, I rig my weightless flukes with the hook point exposed.

Flukes are at their best when that tail is free to wriggle, and erratically jerking a fluke just under the surface imitates panicked shad or minnows. 

Vary your cadence with quick pops and pauses.

That’ll call bass up for a look, no question about it!

You can also let your weightless fluke slowly sink to the bottom, and give it a pop before pausing for 2 to 3 seconds. This will create a chaotic darting action that loops and swirls just feet off the bottom, and I promise you the bass won’t ignore that action!

Just take a look at 1:50:

Texas and Carolina rigs

Finicky bass can be outright tough to catch, but a Texas- or Carolina-rigged fluke can deliver when nothing else is working.

I like a 4/0 Gamakatsu EWG worm hook for this technique, and I’ll rig my fluke weedlessly on it so that I can cut down on snags.

I prefer a bullet weight from about ¼ ounce and moving up to somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 ½ ounces. Too light and you can’t cast them well; too heavy and the action of your trailer will be deadened.

I use Texas rigs to punch thick weed mats when I want to pitch or flip a fluke. For this, I prefer a heavier bullet weight, typically 1 ½ ounces. A Texas-rigged fluke will offer an ideal profile, and a twitch or two usually gets the job done.

I’ll also use a Texas-rigged fluke to target laydowns and other cover that hide bass as they transition to spawning grounds in spring. Here, I opt for a ¼-ounce bullet sinker, and I usually peg it. I want to work slowly, keeping the head of the fluke on the bottom between short hops.

Slow is always good with this technique, and if you’re not getting hit, you’re probably working your fluke too quickly.

When I rig a fluke Carolina-style, I’m hunting deeper water and want to get down to depth fast. I use Reaction Tackle’s Tungsten Worm Weights and a Spro barrel swivel for my Carolina rigs, but you’ll find no real shortage of good options out there.

And I’ll drag my Carlina rigs across hard bottoms, letting the fluke dance above the weighted rig as I creep it along.

Drop shot flukes

Flukes were just made for drop shot rigs, and putting a 5-inch Zoom on a 1/0 drop shot hook really unleashes their magic!

fluke drop shot rig

Flukes are just perfect for drop shot rigs!

Use a light cylinder sinker, 3/16-ounce to ¼-ounce maximum, and pop the rig off the bottom, letting it settle again. You can vary this with subtle twitches of your rod tip, setting the fluke dancing for all it’s worth.

I prefer to simply nose hook my flukes, creating a long length of soft plastic that flutters like crazy. But plenty of anglers like a wacky rigged fluke, and there’s nothing wrong with that!

Ned rigged flukes

The Ned rig has rightly gained attention as a fantastic finesse technique, and adding a fluke as the trailer is nothing short of miraculous.

ned rigged fluke

Ned-rigged flukes are my go-to for highly-pressured lakes.

Think tiny here - you want to throw the lightest possible Ned head on your fluke, and that means spinning tackle dominated this technique.

For me, that means opening with a 1/32-ounce Ned head, and I’ll only step up to a 1/10 or ⅙ ounce if the wind is giving me trouble.

Some of my favorite Ned heads include the ZMan Finesse Shroomz 0.1 ounce and ⅙-ounce options. But I just love the 1/32-ounce Owner’s American 4151 Block Head. For me, it’s the perfect Ned head for a fluke.

Most of the time, I’m working behind other anglers or on a highly-pressured lake, and I’m looking to offer more finesse and something entirely new to stimulate strikes.

The Ned is simply awesome over hard bottoms, and I like to work it slowly around stumps, logs, points, ledges, and anywhere else I know big bass are holding.

Rigged weedlessly, it’s awesome for working the sides of grass or dancing through a tangled blow down.

Scrounger heads on flukes

A scrounger head adds a big bill that makes your fluke shimmy like a wriggling shad. And when worked with a slow, steady retrieve, the action is just incredible.

scrounger head

Now, most anglers work a scrounger with a big trailer, but the secret to this technique is to go small.

For me, that means a ⅛-ounce Luck-E-Strike. I’m looking for the lightest weight I can cast well with my spinning tackle, and I want to count it down to the depth I need, and then take the retrieve pretty slow.

The scrounger and fluke are going to do all the work for me, and you will get hits when the bass turn off, feel pressured, or just won’t hit anything else.

Take a look:

Final Thoughts

Flukes don’t get the attention they deserve, especially as a fantastic finesse trailer.

Put this to the test; go ahead and swap your 5-inch Senko for a Zoom fluke and see if you don’t get hit more often, rigged just the same way!

Chances are, you’ll be a believer in no time.

About The Author
Pete D
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Pete grew up fishing on the Great Lakes. When he’s not out on the water, you can find him reading his favorite books, and spending time with his family.
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