Expert tips and where to find them!
Fluke (or summer flounder) is great in Rhode Island. Big fish can be caught all along and off our southern coastal shores and in the lower part of Narragansett Bay around and south of the Jamestown and Newport Bridges.
This year and next year should be good fluke fishing years because according to Jason McNamee of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s Marine Fisheries Division 2009 was an outstanding year for new fluke and these fish have now likely grown to legal size.
Fluke is a species regulated by the Atlantic Marine Fisheries Commission and Rhode Island DEM. The minimum size limit is Rhode Island is 18 inches; this is a liberalization from last year when the minimum size was 18.5 inches. Anglers are allowed to take eight fish/person/day. The season runs from May 1 to December 31.
Power-drifting can yield big fluke
When wind and current are not in line it is difficult to fluke fish. Both of these are needed to establish a good drift for fluke fishing so you drag your bait over the front of the fish first. Fluke (or summer flounder) set-up looking into the current for prey that is drifting by. So if you drag your bait over their back first they will not have enough time to see your bait and go for it as it will drift by too quickly from behind.
For anglers still wanting to fish for fluke when wind and tide are not in the same direction, one possible solution is to power-drift your boat in the same direction as the current. This involves putting the vessel in and out of gear slowly trying to mimic the strength of the current.
Last year, Rhode Island Saltwater Angler Association members Dave Sweet and Craig Picard tried to fish for fluke. Dave said, “Wind and tide made the drift not so great, but we have gotten pretty good at the “power drifting” technique, and it paid off … with my personal best eight pound fluke.”
One day last June I attempted to fluke fish when the wind and current were not in line. So I power-drifted fishing the high/low edges at Austin Hollow an underwater valley off Jamestown and it paid off with a 23” fluke.
So when wind and current are not in line and you want to fish for fluke, consider power-drifting.
Additional fluke tips from the experts
Last year, I interviewed some of the top fluke experts in Rhode Island. I asked them for fluke fishing tips we could pass along to readers. The experts included charter fishing guides and Captains Rick Bellavance, Jim White, John Rainone, Robb Roach, Charlie Donilon, Rich Hittinger, George Cioe, several excellent fluke anglers, and bait and tackle shop owners. Here’s what they had to say:
Fluke fishing tips
Favorite Places to catch fluke
Look for drop offs, structure, the banks of channels, and deep water particularly in the warm weather, in spring time they tend to be in lower depths. Favorite places to catch fluke include:
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.