Before we star,t I like to point out that there was a good deal of fishing time put in, with countless trial and error of different combinations used in coming up with this rig. Though some fishermen may feel a few shortcuts can be made which may at first save some money, it will also result in less quality fish in the box.
I also will add, that this was a so called 'secret rig' for a while on till someone wrote about it on one of the NJ fishing boards, so for those who feel that I am letting out some 'state-secret' here, just do a little research on your own to see that this fluke rig was discussed a while back. I am just bringing it to the attention to fishermen here who may not know about it.
Below is the rig in question, and then we will go over the other particulars on what to buy, how to tie and then use.
This is the Hi-LO GULP RIGGED FLUKE BUCKTAIL RIG.
It requires (Ocean fishing):
- Bucktails in the range from 4, 6, 8 oz
- GULP 6" Curly Tail (#1 choice) or Swimming Mullet
- 4/0 Baitholder hook
Particulars about this rig:
- As far as the bucktail you use, you do not need a expensive bucktail especially when you are working this rig around reefs and rocky areas. It is more important in having the right weight of the bucktail then in the color of the bucktail or how much the bucktail cost.
1- It does not make a difference using swinging hook bucktails. In fact for fluke fishing, it may be a detriment in hooking short striking fish.
2- Depending on which manufacturer of the bucktail, as the weight of the bucktail goes up, usually the hook size goes up. Many of the heavier bucktails are made for striped bass fishing and have a bigger hook then needed for fluke fishing. There are local bucktail makers who specifically make Bucktails for fluke fishing, and YES, the Spro bucktail does work fine in the heavier weight sizes, if you cannot find some of the local custom made bucktails.
3- Stick with the standard colors of white, chartreuse, hot pink. I cannot comment about the blue and purple hair bucktails, but I would imagine later in the season, these darker shades will also be fine to use.
It is amazing how the GULP scented soft plastics work, and this was the area where there was much trial and error done. The standard curly tails we use for cod in 4" & 6" size do not work as half as well as the GULP scented curly tails, to the point where the GULP noticeably out fishes the standard curly tails we use for cod. Leave those other curly tails home.
1- The preferred soft plastic is the Berkley Gulp Curl Tail 6"
2- Preferred colors are WHITE, CHARTREUSE, PINK SHINE, GLOW WHITE
3- The 6" SWIMMING MULLET is the other alternative
On the high dropper on the rig, a 4/0 size Bait holder hook is tied.
1- The Baitholder hook has slices on the shank which prevents the GULP curly tail or swimming mullet from sliding down
2- The hook we use is the OE TACKLE 4/0 BAITHOLDER hook
This is a 'no swivel' rig as far as tying it. There is a reason this came about since the rig was specifically designed to be used around the rocky and reef areas of the upper New Jersey coast.
1- Use approximately 30 or so feet of any tough monofilament fishing line
2- Tie the bucktail on the bottom with a uni or palomar knot
3- Make a dropper loop roughly a foot from the bucktail
4- Insert the 4/0 Baitholder hook on the dropper loop
5- Add the 6" GULP curly tail on both the Baitholder hook and bucktail
For those using the thicker GULP swimming mullet
1- You can cut the swimming mullet lengthwise and place it on the bucktail, so that you are making 2 swimming mullets out of 1 whole one
2- Use the full size GULP swimmer mullet on the HI dropper with the Baitholder hook
This rig is worked in a similar fashion as you would work a HI-Lo rig for fluke.
1- Slow lifts up and follow the rig back down (try not to just let the bucktail drop down)
This rig was designed for fishing around rocks and reefs, areas where you are targeting bigger fluke. Of course smaller then the legal NY minimum size of 20.5 inches will hit the rig, and at times you will have numerous strikes as you are drifting along.
1- Replace the GULP curly tails as the tails are torn off (this will be very common)
2- Stick when you get a good bite
For those who use this rig where it was intended to be used, you will lose a number of rigs through out the trip. This is to be expected!
- Bring a good amount (6) of each size bucktail in 4, 6, 8 oz
- Do not be surprised to loose up to 10 bucktails on a full day trip
Due to all the tackle lost when fishing the rig on and near rocks and reefs, was the reason why the rig is tied with straight mono, since you will be constantly re-tying rigs throughout the fishing day as you get hung up.
- As you loose your bucktail rig, re-tie a new bucktail rig from what is left of your mono line
- As you work through the original 30 or so feet of mono, you will come up to your braided line (which most use these days)
- Put on a new fresh 30 foot section of monofilament line and start again, unless you are fishing with straight mono
- No swivels used
- Attach the monofilament line to the braided line using a Albright knot
Though many are not particular in this area (you can use an off the rack light Shakespeare Ugly Stick), there are a number of blanks that can be used, and both RALPH RODWINDER and CAPTAIN RICHIE could offer you a number of outstanding choices for a custom built fluke rod.
- Bring one outfit for working lighter bucktails and one that can work the 8 oz bucktail
- Heavier blanks are used if one is working the channels in the NY BIGHT or water deeper then 60 feet
- Graphite blanks are preferred, but their are many e-glass alternatives
- A standard bait casting reel is all you need, but any reel the size of a Newell 220 works
- GULP rules on this rig - Don't 'chinz' here, this is the key
- Ocean fishing use 6" GULP
- Focus on having the correct weighted bucktail
- No swivels, tie this rig direct
- If working around rocks and reefs, you will lose tackle but you will see more quality and trophy fluke
- Bring a good amount of bucktails and packages of GULP
- Bring one lighter and heavier outfit
Yes, and I have saved this for the end of this discussion to make a point. It has been pointed out to me that time and again, the GULP rig out fishes any type of bait rig, or even in tipping this rig with bait. This could be due to the fishermen I talk to, but they have seen a noticeable difference in both the quantity and quality of fluke caught with this rig, sans bait.
You can always use various bait strips, along with Peruvian Spearing, fresh squid and or fresh baby bunker. Those who fish day in and out and take customers for fluke stick with this rig instead of using bait. That has to tell you something on how productive in catching big fluke this rig is.
I will add, do not be surprised to see a number of big sea bass being caught with this rig, due to the areas where this rig tends to be used. If you get into area with a good amount of short and pin size sea bass, it can be frustrating in the amount of GULP curly tails that will get chewed up or ripped off your hook, so pick up and carry a few packages of each color you prefer to use.
The results of this rig speak for itself!