Using Electronics to Find Fluke

Though you won't mark fluke on a fishfinder, electronics can play a key role in finding bigger flatfish.

There’s been much written about how technological advancements have played a role in finding saltwater fish. There is side-scanning sonar for zeroing in on striper schools, real-time moving sonar images for ice- and freshwater fishing, and even bird-finding radar capabilities for locating tuna feeds. But, there hasn’t been much talk about how electronics factor into finding and catching fluke.

We spoke with two fanatical fluke captains, one who moves between spots throughout the season, and one who fishes a spot that moves and shifts throughout the season.

Captain Nino Aversa  – Port Hopping

Based in Southern New Jersey, Captain Nino Aversa of the El Nino Saltwater Fishing Team trailers his Parker 2320 all over the Northeast hunting fluke and fishing fluke tournaments. This team of experienced anglers took home the $100,000 check at the 2019 Flounder Pounder Open in Delaware.

In preparation for tournaments, especially those outside his South Jersey home waters, Aversa studies the Navionics Boating USA app for info on structure, boat ramps, and even marinas and restaurants.

That information is loaded into Hummingbird Solix units. Aversa has three on the boat that are all networked and have the Navionics map card info displayed. That, in conjunction with chirp radar and 2D sonar, allows him to navigate unfamiliar channels in low-light conditions. Once he clears the harbor, he plugs in the coordinates of where he wants to fish.

Captain Nino Aversa travels around the Northeast in pursuit of trophy fluke, relying on hit electronics to find and catch fluke in unfamiliar waters.

Aversa is part of the growing number of Northeast saltwater captains who use an electric trolling motor to fine-tune his bottom fishing. “The trolling motor allows us to control drift speed and even hold us in place for a moment to get set before commencing a drift.”

Learn more about the chase for trophy fluke and the importance of boat control. 

Aversa uses a Minn Kota Ulterra, which he pairs with his Humminbird Solix. Once he identifies the area he wants to fish, he plots the course for the Ulterra to create the drift. This setup also allows Aversa to perfectly reproduce productive drifts, even in changing wind and current conditions. By placing waypoints over areas with the most activity, Aversa and his team home in on productive areas and avoid drifting over empty bottom.

BELOW: Watch the El Nino Fishing Team use their electronics to dial in the Montauk fluke bite. 

Whether back bay or open ocean fishing, Aversa uses a similar approach, though in the bays, he considers where other predatory species like striped bass might set up to feed. “Predators, regardless of species, like similar structure. I find bigger fluke in areas where I have also caught stripers.”

WATCH: Rhode Island Fluke Fishing with Captain BJ Silvia

Captain Jeff Viamari – Shifting Shoals

Captain Jeff Viamari of Bad Influence Sportfishing spends every fishable day from June to September on the sandy shoals south of Nantucket. While these waters have received a lot of attention as a doormat mecca over the past decade, many fishermen fail to realize that this area is not only vast, but the structures shift from season to season. To make matters more complicated, fluke also shift around the shoals throughout the season, moving in from offshore in the early summer and returning to the deep each fall.
The work Viamari puts into finding fluke, both on and off the water, has helped him guide dozens, if not hundreds, of fishermen to their personal-best fluke. More impressive than that, many (if not most) of those double-digit doormats swim free to fight another day, thanks to Viamari encouraging his clients to release the biggest fish.

Captain Jeff Viamari fishes the wide expanse of shoals south of Nantucket and uses electronics on and off the water to narrow down the small areas that hold the largest fluke.

Even being on the water on a near-daily basis, Viamari researches potentially productive areas every night at home using the Navionics app on his smartphone. He looks for areas with the same features as the areas where he’s been catching – depth, contours, and bottom composition.

On the boat, Viamari then uses his fishfinder to locate fluke—or more specifically, fluke-holding locations. While these bottom-hugging flatfish don’t “mark” on sonar, modern transducers can read the bottom composition pretty well, allowing captains to identify whether they’re drifting over hard or soft bottom. Those transitions, Viamari said, hold large fluke, so whenever he crosses one, he marks it, even if it doesn’t produce fish initially.

He also uses the sonar to double-check what he’s scouted on his charts. The sandy shoals of Nantucket change at a faster rate than the harder bottom around Block Island, Montauk, and the artificial reefs off New Jersey, so Viamari ensures his charts are reading correctly.

READ: Gear and Tackle for Nantucket Shoals Fluke

Having a reservoir of proven and potential locations to check has helped Viamari consistently find fluke on the shoals. As fishing pressure on the waters has increased, his off-the-water research and on-the-water scouting means he can move away from boats whose principle strategies for finding Nantucket fluke rely on using radar and binoculars to locate the fleet.

While Aversa focuses on shorter, targeted drifts, Viamari likes stretching them out, looking for pockets of fish over wider areas. Of course, Viamari saves his scouting for when the fish box is full.

Parting Advice

Vimari’s final advice was to not overlook the small stuff, that is the tiny holes, edges, or bumps that many fishermen miss. With side-scanning sonar, Viamari says, it’s possible to see these smaller structures that have big potential, especially the ones that don’t appear on any charts.

Aversa advised that fishermen who want to use their electronics to find more fluke (or any species) must take the time to truly learn the features of their machines. Electronics are a significant investment for fishermen, and far too many don’t use them to their full potential.

 

6 on “Using Electronics to Find Fluke

  1. APEX

    I mean no disrespect for these captains but this piece is big on pushing product and charters, but low on facts that might help anyone actually use their electronics to identify productive bottom.

  2. peter okeefe

    time to contact congress man and DEMAND small charters be allowed out. Its outdoors and a crew of six for gods sake! have we all lost our minds…Only healthy allowed..at least put some healthy people back to work

    1. red

      Peter – you have some magic way to tell who’s “healthy” when people can carry Covid-19 without symptoms for days ?
      My wife is immunocompromised, so contact with a person carrying Covid-19 could quite literally kill her. and she’s not the only one by a longshot.
      if you can’t stay home for yourself stay home for others.

      1. Dear Leader

        So we should all stay inside for ever? Come on.

    2. DB

      I will agree with red on this one.
      As much as I love fishing as everyone here and going nuts watching my gear sitting in the garage, this whole pandemic is something we should each do our part and deal with it now instead of letting it drag on.
      It tear me apart recently having to intubate a 49 y/o relatively healthy young men and declare him deceased 12 hour later (I’m a pulmonologist/critical care physician).
      I’m sure we are all just trying to keep ourself sane , stay strong, be patient, and pray.

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