Do you know how to fish a fluke? If you fish often enough in saltwater, you will eventually use minnows to catch a fluke . Some call them minnows. They are also called bullheads or killies, but the bait’s the same no matter the name. They may well be the best and most popular bait for fluke fishing.
Minnows are effective bait for fluke when fished with strip baits, alone, on plain or bucktail adorned hooks or on lead head jigs.
Veteran fluke anglers have their own ideas on how to fish minnows. Some say big baits produce bigger fish, except when fluke are feeding on small baits like grass shrimp, shiners, baby crabs or other small fish.
When a fluke is boated and spits up small baits, it may be an indicator that smaller strips and smaller minnows will work as well or better than big ones.
One rule is followed by fluke veterans. They keep baits in a white or light colored container prior to fishing them. Minnows take on the color of the bottom as a camouflage so minnows in a light cooler turn light in color. The theory is that minnows fished over dark bottom are in competition with thousands of natural baits which would be darker. Using a minnow that looks like the rest, but is light colored makes the bait easier for fluke to find.
Fish tend to attack crippled baits or baits that look similar but different enough to stand out from the others. Minnows should be kept alive and should be alive on the hook. Most anglers hook a minnow through the lower lip and out the upper lip. There is enough “meat” in the minnow’s head to keep the hook from tearing out and room to penetrate without hitting the brain or spine. Either or both kill the minnow.
Use a thinner wire hook. Easier penetration helps keep minnows alive. Lighter hooks allow minnows to move more freely and are easier to set when a fluke strikes. Hooks ride with the point up on jigs. When fishing minnows on a lead head jig, penetrate the top lip first and bring the hook out the lower lip. This makes the minnow come through the water upside down. This is unnatural to the minnow and it will try to swim right side up. The hook turns them back over and the minnow rights itself, adding more movement to the bait and more distress signals are sent out.
If the drift is slow or the boat is not moving at all, hooking the minnow in the dorsal area or the tail may work better. Surf anglers who let baits rest longer might find dorsal or tail hooking a good way to go.
Another method of hooking minnows is to push the hook point through one eye socket and out the other, or through one eye and out the through the lower jaw.
Salt water minnows will work in the back bays, tidal waters, fresh water and the ocean. They are a universal bait which many kinds of fish find attractive, but many fishermen use them to fish a fluke. An aerator will help keep minnows alive when transporting them. There are aerators on the market. In hot weather, lower water temperature in the aerated container with a bottle with ice cubes in it or a plastic container in which the water has been frozen.