Two Fluke Fishing Rigs You Need to Know

These two easy-to-tie fluke fishing rigs can be customized for different depths and locations to help you catch more doormat fluke.

Fluke Strip Baits

When it comes to jumbo fluke fishing rigs, these two presentations can be tied quickly and infinitely customized to suit different locations and conditions. 

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The Popcorn Rig 

This modified version of the classic high-low rig requires a 40-pound-test fluorocarbon leader, a barrel swivel, two ¼-ounce to ¾-ounce jigs, and a cannonball sinker. It was designed to place two baits close to the bottom during a drift over sandy, nearly snag-free bottom. It’s a popular rig among fluke fishermen at the Nantucket Shoals, known for vast, sandy expanses that provide the perfect habitat for doormat fluke. The shoals’ changing bottom structure allows the cannonball sinker to roll over small troughs and ruts carved into the sand by changing current. These areas are where fluke lie camouflaged to pick off any unsuspecting bait drifting in the current just overhead.

The angle of the bait presentation in the water is everything. When properly executed, the jigs are attached to dropper loops and swim slightly suspended over the bottom. In heavy current, this rig is effective because the lightweight jigs reduce tangles and add just enough weight to keep the baits in the strike zone.

Most fluke fishermen favor lightweight jigs with silicone skirts due to their action, wide array of colors, and durability. Lightweight bucktail jigs can also be used in place of silicone skirt jigs, but these tend to get shredded by a fluke’s teeth over time and have fewer color options. Ultimately, the most important aspect of the jig on a popcorn rig is the hook. Jigs must have hooks big enough to accommodate large, scented teasers and/or strip baits, with enough room left to get a secure hookset on a biting fluke. 


Jigs for Popcorn Rigs:

Backwater Baits Poison Tail

Joe Baggs Nantucket Flukie Teaser

Berkley Fusion19 Bucktail Jig

Modifying the Popcorn Rig:


If snags are a concern, or bluefish and dogfish are racking up a big bill in lost jigs, anglers can modify the popcorn rig by swapping the jigs for Mylar skirts and soft-plastic squids above large, octopus-style hooks. 

Tie the rig as you normally would, using two dropper loops. To each loop, slide on a squid, then a Mylar rivet teaser for flash, followed by the hook. The resulting rig will have a bit less action than the traditional popcorn rig, but it is still an effective presentation. 


Turn the Weight into Bait

Swapping the sinker for a heavy bucktail jig gives the angler an additional opportunity to tempt a large fluke. While more bites tend to come on the teasers, the biggest bites sometimes come on a bucktail.

A jig between 2 and 6 ounces will cover most of the bases when fishing for doormat fluke, and minnow-head bucktails are the most popular style. They swim well through current, resemble a realistic baitfish profile, and come in various sizes and colors.

The SPRO Prime Bucktail (shown) is a favorite among fluke fishermen for its minnow-style head, vertical line tie and versatile baitfish profile. The addition of a natural or artificial jig trailer is common practice, in order to boost the perceived size of the offering.

Make sure to select a fixed-hook bucktail jig and avoid using swing hooks. A jig with a swing hook increases the likelihood of a fluke gaining leverage to free itself with a few headshakes. 

WATCH: Three Rigs for Doormat Fluke with Captain Jeff Viamari: How to Tie the Popcorn Rig 

fluke fishing rigs

The Three-Way Rig 

When the boat is drifting well, a three-way rig can be an excellent choice for tempting large fluke by allowing anglers to present extra-large or live baits in a natural way.

A long leader gives the rig action and keeps the bait distanced from the heavy sinker, while Mylar and squid skirts add color, flash, and size to the bait presentation. The lengthy leader has less tension on the line compared to Mylar and popcorn rigs, which increases the likelihood of a committed strike from an otherwise finicky or hesitant fluke.

This rig requires a fast drift to give life to the bait at the end of the long leader. On slower drifts, the bait will drag or tangle, making the popcorn rig or a jig the better option.

Avoid pitching or underhand casting the rig because the long leader could tangle the main line. Instead, gently lower the rig to the water and ensure the bait leader is free of tangles or twists before sending it the rest of the way to the bottom.


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