Flukes or soft jerkbaits really don’t get as much credit as they deserve.
They can be absolutely deadly when nothing else will work.
This is especially true when you’re dealing with pressured fish.
Say for example, you’re on a fishery where anglers are using rattling hard sided jerkbaits and crankbaits. The bass can get turned off.
They might start ignoring these noisy baits after a while. This is a key time to try a fluke.
Flukes normally come in sizes anywhere from 2 to over 5 inches. You can find them with all sorts of tail configurations.
Some have forked tails while others have a single pointed tail.
Some newer models have gaps built in for the hook to sit in.
What are they meant to look like?
Flukes basically look like a baitfish. Their soft plastic bodies usually create a darting action when you give them a quick jerk.
This darting can happen in random directions. One time it will dart left and the next it could dart right.
This randomness is more natural and can yield fierce strikes from bass.
When fished with little to no weight, a fluke will fall like a dead baitfish would.
When you combine the random darting action with a slow natural fall you have a deadly combo.
How To Rig A Fluke
Texas Rig Style Fluke
One of the most conventional ways to rig a fluke is a weedless or Texas style rig.
One of the problems with rigging this way is that if you bump into weeds or cover, the bait will slide down the hook shaft.
This will ruin the bait’s action and you’ll need to reel it in and fix it.
You can prevent this by using an offset hook. An offset hook has a bend near the eye.
This bend helps prevent plastic jerkbaits from sliding down the hook shaft.
Some anglers insist on using an extra wide gap hook (EWG).
This is important because of the height of a fluke can make it hard to set the hook.
In the end it really depends on how tall the fluke you’re using is or whether it has a slit in the body that the hook can pass through.
If it does have a slit then an extra wide gap hook is really not that big of a deal.
Nose Hooking A Fluke
Another way to rig a fluke is to nose hook it. Keep in mind that this is not weedless like the Texas rig is.
You’re basically just going to sun a short shank round hook through the nose of the fluke.
You can use a screw lock if you want to free up the hook even more.
So when does this rig work well?
When bass hit a fluke they normally hit the nose. As a bass is inhaling a baitfish, they’ll want to take it in nose first.
This will help the spines on the baitfish fold down and allow the bass to swallow the bait with no problems. Yes, bass will strike the tail, but will often turn the baitfish around before swallowing.
So, if you’re having trouble hooking bass because they’re striking short, give this rig a try.
You should see a big improvement in your hookup ratio.
Rigging a Fluke With A Treble Hook
A great way to improve hookup ration is rigging a fluke with a treble hook.
This can be effective when fish are not striking aggressively. It’s also a good technique for open water where there is not alot of cover to hang your bait.
I got this technique from pro Terry Bolton.
You need to get a rivet and knock the pin out. Then, use the pin to make a channel in the fluke.
To do this, stick the pin through the nose of the fluke until it comes out through the bottom.
It should come out by the back of the flukes belly area. This makes a channel for your line to go through.
Then, you take the rivet tube and stick that in the nose of the fluke. This will create a tube for your line to pass through.
Stick your line through the tube opening at the nose of the fluke. Once the line comes out the back end of the fluke, tie on a treble hook.
Then once the hook is tied on, you can draw it back to that one of the treble points is inserted into the rear belly of the fluke.
How To Fish A Fluke
Soft plastic jerkbaits are actually extremely flexible baits. They can be fished in many different ways.
Below I’ll describe some common ways to fish a fluke.
Don’t be afraid to try your own styles.
Twitch And Pause
This is probably the most common way people fish a fluke. You give the bait a few quick twitches with the rob pointed down and then pause.
When you twitch the fluke it should dart erratically in random directions. It should also dart up if you full up a bit with your twitch.
The pause allows the bait to fall like an injured baitfish. You then twitch it again a few times.
This action mimics a struggling or injured baitfish. Strikes will most often come when the fluke is falling.
You might not have tension on the line when a bass bites. So, keep an eye on the line.
Vertical Rise and Fall
Vertically jigging a fluke can be an effective way to catch fish.
Getting the weight right will take a bit of practice. You want to makes sure that when it falls, it doesn’t fall to fast and has a bit of that fluttering action.
You can let it hit the bottom then give it a couple of quick jerks up. Switch between a slight left and right angle between jerks.
Remember that as the fluke falls you’re like to get a strike.
Another effective retrieve type is the slow rolling retrieve. This is done by reeling in your fluke very slowly. You’ll need to be patient for this.
You’ll want to have your fluke on the bottom. This slow movement can mimic bottom feeding baitfish. These baitfish may be feeding on algea of small shellfish.
Many places in the US have Goby populations. Find a color that matches a Goby and try this technique.
Gobies are bottom feeders. Matching their behavior can be deadly for catching big Largemouth and Smallmouth too.
A Texas rig is common for this technique. But if you run a treble on the top side of the fluke, you may be able to get good hookups and be snag free.
If you’re fishing the bottom of over heavy cover, bottom bumping can generate strikes.
This can be especially effective when you’re fishing over a rocky bottom.
Adding a glass bead just above the hook eye can add some extra sound to your presentation.
There are also rattle pods that you can insert into a fluke for added sound.
Mimicking bottom feeders that are cracking shells with a visual and sound presentation could get some lunkers to strike.
Topwater Plastic Jerkbait Fishing
Flukes are great baits for fishing at or just under the surface.
Their darting and fluttering action is beautiful to look at.
To get the best action out of a fluke, it’s best to rig it either weightless or with a very light weight.
The natural movements of a fluke are what makes it so alluring to predators.
When you twitch it, it can go to the left or right. When it falls it can move completely erratically.
This is a topwater combination. Rig your fluke weightless with a Texas rigged hook.
I recommend a high quality spinning reel unless you have a baitcaster that can cast really light lures.
Once you cast, twitch the fluke in a walk the dog style.
This means give it light twitches from left to right and vice versa.
You can keep the rood tip pointed at the water while you do this.
The idea is to get the fluke twitching from side to side and the slowly falling in between twitches.