Stay compact for successful and fun beach fluking.
As the weather heats up, surf fishing options change throughout the region. This is due to the migrating and lethargic nature of species like stripers, weakfish and bluefish. As anglers who fish from the shore, we still have a desire to target fish in the same manner. Fluke are a perfect target for surf fishing under the summer sun.
My summer fluke fishing takes place in a number of different settings but one place where I have found consistent success is the open sand beach. This might be due to that fact that when the bays become too hot and the fish become a bit lethargic, they move out to the shallow ocean waters and beach lip where bait is still plentiful and the water is more comfortable for them to stage.
Beach fluke fishing entails walking up and down the sand for miles looking for cuts, troughs and dips along the beach lip, not too dissimilar to what I look for when targeting stripers off the sand. This technique requires covering some ground to find where the fish are laying. Of course, doing this under the summer sun can be strenuous and packing compact and light is ideal so you don’t tire out too easily.
Think surf belt but scaled down a lot. I use a belt with lighter material as compared to some of the belts used these days. The belt has a single pair of pliers in a sheath for cutting line and unhooking fish. The only other item on the belt is a larger Tactical Anglers Assault Pouch. The pouch is large enough to fit a spool of leader material, jigheads, teaser hooks and a small watertight container or bags of your favorite Gulp or Fishbites for fluke. I stick purely to artificial baits for this method of fishing just because of the ease of use when being mobile on a sand beach.
You can either keep your jigs and hooks in a higher quality plastic baggie or a small Plano box. The bags I have used for this fishing are the same ones I put my tied leaders in. The plastic is a much thicker gauge and hook points won’t penetrate the material as easily. A Sharpie marker can be used to label the bags by jig and bucktail weight too if you like to stay a little more on the organized side.
Staying with the trend of light would be the rod and reel combo. Don’t try to go too heavy on this end and defeat the purpose of being light and mobile. I like a rod in the 7- to 7-1/2-foot range with a light spinning reel from a 2500 to 300 size. Eight or 10-pound braid usually goes on my reels for surf fluking since the lighter line provides me with better casting distance that is needed at times when I’m shorebound. The leaders I usually carrying are typically in the 15- to 20-pound size which compliments my braid perfectly.
If you can find a light backpack, bring that along too. It can be used to carry water for needed hydration in the sun, snacks, your shoes or any other items you find useful. Just remember to keep things light.
Some anglers, like me, prefer to go barefoot on the sand but some others like to wear water shoes when walking the beach. I find any sort of footwear will slow me down and sand will always find its way inside the shoe. I walk down with a pair of flip flops, remove them and put them in my backpack out of the way.
While I have no problem doing this fishing for pure enjoyment of the fight and releasing the fish afterwards, some people enjoy a fresh fish meal. A simple solution is to bring a light cooler backpack with a couple of larger Ziploc bags. Your valuables should fit on a side pocket but the flip flops can be put in the Ziploc, inside the bag so they don’t directly intermingle with your potential catch—nobody wants fishy feet (or feety fish).
Beat the heat and head out to the shore for a fun way to spend a few hours this summer. Fluke put up a nice fight on light tackle. Remember to just keep it compact!