Fluke Fishing north of the Cape Cod Canal by Elmer Mudguaard, Photos by Jimdogg Hackett

August 14, 2011

The Great Outdoors


The "old spots" still hold flounders in Boston Harbor

I grew up in Houghs Neck, Quincy. In those years, it was known as the flounder capital of the world.I caught so many flatties, in so many ways, that I wasn’t surprised to see a flounder on the end of my line in the North River one day as I was casting a jig to schoolie stripers.  It was when I got it into the boat that I noticed the teeth in the very large mouth and knew I had my first fluke. It would be until this year before I would catch another fluke in the North River.

Plenty of nice fluke down the Cape!

Plenty of nice fluke on the cape and around the islands.There are lots of great places to fish for fluke down along the south coast and the islands. From the Cape Cod Canal, west and south, fluke can be caught on a regular basis. But north and east of the canal, it is a little bit more of a challenge to find the right-sized fish.This year, I decided to target fluke along the south shore to see if I could find any of the aggressive flat fish. My first try was in the North River, on an outgoing tide near where the South River comes in.  Currents were running hard and we were in our kayaks. We would drift and jig, then paddle back up river and do it again. On the 3rd drift, I hooked on to a fluke, and you know right away it is a flat fish from the banging of the rod. Up it came, and it was about 15 inches or so. Much too short of 17.5 they are supposed to be. Next trip was down to Plymouth Harbor and the area around Bug Light and the outer channels to Plymouth and Duxbury Harbors. Here, you can find fluke on a regular basis.  The channel edges hold fish of decent size; and over the past couple of years, we have caught them while fishing for stripers with bucktails or weighted rubber worms and eels. Bite Me Bait Co photographer, Jimdogg Hackett, and I decided on a fluke fishing trip by kayak in the edge of the channel at the end of Plymouth beach. The tide had just turned and the currents  were running fast. Perfect fluke conditions. I had my bait in the water about 5 minutes when the first fish came. It was only 14 inches or so but a nice start.

Nice Start!

Fluke fishing by kayak is not for the faint of heart. The biggest danger comes from those inconsiderate power boaters that can’t possibly slow down and show you any respect. But aside from that, if you pay attention to them, the worst you get is a lot of up and down action. Fluke like fast-running water over gravel and rocky bottom.  They are aggressive, so keep your bait moving. I use rigs I make myself. I use squid bodies, #5-7 fluke hooks, some glass beads, or plastic. I save everyone I find. Fluke aren’t real fussy. Then, put a flashing blade of some sort and tie it to a 3-way swivel, add some sort of weight (I use a 5-6 oz storm shad) and you are ready. The deeper water I fish, the bigger the rig I use. You often catch other fish; and today, I caught a nice striped bass  that quickly released itself at the boat’s edge. I lost one more big fluke to the sharp teeth found in its mouth. As I grabbed the leader, it bit and shook and went home. Oh well, I found out where to catch them; and for those who like flounder with an attitude and great taste to boot, hit the channels in outer Plymouth and Duxbury Harbors.  Work the edges with a good fluke rig with a squid strip trailer, and be ready for the strike. Next stop -  the waters off Manomet.

Lobster Boat surfing coming up!



Fluke have a season in Massachusetts waters from May 22 until September 30th.  There is a 5 fish per day limit, and fish must be 17.5 inches or longer.

Bite Me Bait Co Photographer Jimdogg Hackett enjoys a beautiful day on the water