Spot On for Big South Jersey Fluke
Lost in the six-inch Gulp! Grub and strip bait craze when it comes to catching bigger fluke is the effectiveness of that miniature member of the drum family: the spot.
The fish-catching ability of this saltwater panfish (its size range tops at 11-12 inches and tastes pretty darn good) is known among several fraternities as a “Cape May Goodie” for stripers and “Tuna Candy” for the likes of bluefin and yellowfin.
Add “Fluke Fantasia” when it comes to tickling the taste buds of hefty flatties.
Plus, the spot is no slouch when it comes to tiderunner weakfish, bluefish and, when they appear around mid-summer, a fave summertime visitor, the cobia.
The spot itself is a southern species, but it does make it’s way here, generally arriving in late May and sticking around through September. Sometimes the counts are numerous and this hungry handful can be caught from docks and bulkheads with pieces of clam, squid or Fishbites. They’ll be in the bays and tidal creeks and will also venture into lagoons.
It appears to be cyclic, though, and the past few years they have been kind of scarce, appearing here but not there, and vice versa.
If you cannot find/catch any, the one alternative is to purchase them, and there are a few bait and tackle emporiums along the south Jersey coast that do sell them. They can be pricey, around $3.50 or so a pop, but when it comes to getting wary, over-sized fluke to strike, especially ones that have seen just about every bucktail combo, and every squid/minnie or squid/spearing rig, bluefish, sea robin or mackerel strip, show ‘em a live, wiggling and fussing spot...and hold on. The whack is going to be hard and vicious.
Don’t limit your spot drop to the channels and holes in the bays, as they’ll register on fluke radars over the reefs and wrecks as well.
Opines Capt. Dave “The Rave” Showell from Absecon Bay Sportsman Center who also runs Absecon Bay Fishing Safaris, “I sell a ton of Gulp! and a lot of minnies, squid and bucktails, and they all catch flounder. But when it comes to targeting bigger fish, well, I recommend a live four-inch to six-inch spot. You might not get as many hits, but when
you do, it’ll be from a big flounder.”