No Fluke

Follow these pro tips to find the big fluke


As the spring migration of striped bass starts to slow, anglers begin to focus their attention on catching summer flounder (fluke). This year, like the past three years, has gotten off to a slow start. Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown said last week, “The fluke bite is slow, but anglers are working to catch large fish. We weighed in an 11-pounder caught off the beaches.”

So, there are big fish to be caught.

“In the spring they are in 25 feet of water, but as the water warms they go down deeper to 45 to 100 feet of water. I am a firm believer to figure out what the fluke are eating and then strip up that as bait. It could be bluefish, black sea bass, fluke bellies, menhaden, or sea robins,”  said Jeff Sullivan of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren. “I believe in using light tackle, 20-pound braid, so you can get down will less scope. I like to use squig rigs often with jigs and usually a second stinger hook.”

Mike Wade, owner of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly said, “I like to dead stick with live bait with a rod off the stern. I usually use mummies with a sinker rig. It is amazing how many big fish this rig catches. That said, my favorite rig is an inline swivel to a 12” dropper look, a large bean jig and often a Jack Pot Digger Jig with a 30-inch flyer with a Tsunami Holographic squid and a mustard hook.”

Last year, angler Peter Johnson of Connecticut said, “I limited out on fluke in 80 feet of water in the Block Island Wind Farm.” Peter is a firm believer in going light. He uses 15-pound braid, jigs and stingers tipped with gulp and sometimes squid strips. Peter caught one of his personal best at the time, a 28” fluke, right in front of Warwick Light in Narraganset Bay fishing the banks and deep water in the channel.

In Rhode Island the fluke regulation this year is a 19” minimum size, six fish/person/day with special shore areas where anglers are allowed two 17” fish. In Massachusetts the minimum sizes are 17.5” from a boat and 16.5” from shore, with a four fish/person/day limit.

Here are some fluke tips from the experts:

Fluke face into the current to feed, so you want to drag your bait over the front of them, drifting with the tide and wind in the same direction when in a boat or slowing pulling your bait over the bottom when on land.

Fish edges of structure or transition areas near jetties and bridges, channels, banks, underwater valleys, humps and bumps, as big fish ambush bait there.

When it comes to fluking, squid is the bait of choice. Some anglers cut it in very fine strips, yet others like to use the whole squid, with others using what they catch that day … strips of bluefish, sea robin, scup, etc.

Find the fish and repeat the pattern… drifting over the same location or depth that is yielding fish.

So when targeting fluke do your homework, plan where you will fish first, second, third, etc. the night before based on recent wind forecast and tide. You will be rewarded with some lager keeper fluke, as well as black sea bass and scup.

Where’s the bite?

“Freshwater fishing for trout has been good in recently stocked ponds,” said Dave Henault of Ocen State Tackle, Providence. Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick, said, “The largemouth bass bite with spinner baits and shiners had been very good at Johnston’s Pond and Gorton Pond, Warwick.”

Striped bass and bluefish

“Some large bluefish and striped bass are being caught in the Bay, with areas around Gould Island producing well. Trolling tube and worm is producing, but what is really  working well for customers are umbrella rigs,” said Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box.

Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle said, “Anglers are hooking up with large bass in the mid and upper Bay using pogies and flutter spoons, with kayak anglers being successful trolling tube & worm.”

Declan O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & Tackle, Charlestown said, “Rain bait, small bait covering the south shore and enough of it to have some schools moving around uninterrupted. Silversides, sand eels, and bay anchovies are mostly what these schools consist of. Among the stripers and bluefish shad, fluke and sea bass are targeting this bait as well. Fishing for bass has slowed down during the day but fish can still be had. First and last light continue to produce better results for shore guys. Boat guys are using live eels and topwater plugs to entice bigger fish. There have also been some good-sized bluefish mixed in.”


The spring tautog season ended on May 31 in Rhode Island for the spawning season and will reopen Aug. 1. In Massachusetts, the catch limit drops to one fish/person/day from June 1 to July 31. In both states the open season limit changes on Aug. 1, with a three fish/person/day limit, 16” to 21” slot, with one fish allowed to be over 21.”

Summer flounder (fluke), black sea bass and scup

“The fluke bite improved off Newport this weekend, with no fluke being caught in the Bay yet.  And, the scup bite is way off.  I have heard ‘Where are the fluke?’, from a number of customers,” said Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box.

Declan O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & Tackle, said, “Fluke are starting to show up with some consistency, a mix of shorts to just keeper size locally, with a few 4-5 pounders, with Block Island holding bigger fish, and the bite seems to be in around 70 feet of water out there. Locally, fish are being caught anywhere from 55-15 feet of water. Even a few keepers have been pulled out of the salt ponds.

“Black sea bass still seem to be in deep water off of the beaches and around Block Island but some have been caught in 30 feet of water. Scup just started to arrive in coastal water. They can be a bit tight lipped this time of year.”

Dave Monti holds a master captain’s license and charter fishing license. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions and has a consulting business focusing on clean oceans, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries related issues and clients. Forward fishing news and photos to or visit

2024 by East Bay Media Group

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email