Teasers For Fluke
Teasers for Fluke
By Tom Schlichter
If you want to start a lively fluke discussion open the conversation by announcing your favorite or sea bass teaser. There’s no way you’ll find everyone in complete agreement for it seems nearly every serious bottom fisherman has a few deeply held convictions on the topic.
Some anglers, for example, depend on a specific color or pattern; others favor teasers that are sparsely tied while yet a third school holds that full-bodied teasers attract bigger fish. A fair number of fluke sharpies like their teasers to sport wide-gap or octopus-style name-brand hooks, but many others, especially sea bass fans, prefer the simple flash of a little bucktail or flashabou wrapped around a standard sproat. There are flatfish and sea biscuit experts who position teasers three feet above their hooks, others that tie them at six- to eight inches, and a slew insisting that 14 to 20 inches ahead of the bottom hook is the right height no matter where you fish. Some anglers prefer soft-plastic shads and grubs as teasers, others tie on the cheapest puff of attractant they can buy while their counterparts are willing to invest a lot of time and money to create or track down virtual works of art to lure in their catch. All this, and we haven't even touched on whether or not a teaser should be worked straight up and down or allowed to drop back with a little scope in the line.
Fluke teasers these days come in all sorts of colors, shapes and sized. While it’s okay to have a favorite, adding a little variety to your selection is always a good idea. OutdoorTom.com photo.
Still, to most local anglers, teasers intended to tempt fluke or sea bass are simply any dressed upper hook on a high-low rig. The primary dressings can include bucktail hair, synthetic materials such as Mylar, Flashabou or Krystal Flash, feathers, soft plastic grubs or even a small jig. Call them what you want, and choose whichever style catches your fancy, but know this much is certain: adding a teaser to your favorite fluke or sea bass rig virtually guarantees more action over the course of a season.
Naturally, there are a few points to keep in mind when selecting teasers for tempting bottom feeders and, despite all the debate, several patterns seem to hold true across most fluking and sea bass hot spots. Consider color, for example. White teasers seem to produce just about everywhere, and these serve as a good control option since you know they should bring at least a fair response. As a rule, they tend to work best in clear water, especially on sunny days.
Chartreuse is another teaser color that sees regular action. Because of its high visibility, it’s a great initial choice when the water is murky. Pink or salmon are other top producers, especially when summer flatties are feeding on local squid in early May, mantis shrimp in late-June, or small calico crabs in July and August. Olive and green have many followers, too, when sand eels or spearing are in abundance.
After these choices color selection is a free-for-all. Orange and red match up well to young sea robins. Silver and blue complement peanut bunker, rain bait, or small snappers, while yellow or gold are a good match if juvenile weakfish or a set of small blowfish take up temporary residence in your favorite haunts. Black also works well when brown tide is an issue of your quarry is lurking around offshore structure that holds small bergalls, baby blackfish or juvenile sea bass.
No matter the color, most fluke and sea bass teasers are made more effective when tied with a white belly section, or at least a few strands of synthetic material that add flash or iridescence to the pattern.
Tipping Is Encouraged
Tipping teasers intended for bottom feeders with a piece of bait is one theme that seems to have nearly universal appeal. Most sharpies select a single spearing, sand eel, or a thin strip of squid or fish belly to add a little scent and taste to their offerings. The key is to keep the added bait relatively light so that the teaser will continue to dance seductively above the lower bait or jig. In other words, tip accordingly without being overly generous. Larger teasers can handle larger baits. The exception to this rule is when using Gulp! soft plastics like a 3-, 4- or 5-inch Swimming Mullet, Saltwater Jerk Shad or Saltwater Shrimp. If you go with synthetic bait, there’s no need to add the real thing. In fact, adding a shiner or strip bait is likely to take away from the action of your grub or minnow teaser so simply fish them solo.
When all else fails, a plain white teaser is always a good bet. OutdoorTom.com photo.
What’s the perfect teaser length? Some anglers use the exact same color and teaser size wherever they fish. Most successful bottom bouncers, however, base teaser size on location and the size of the bottom species they hope to catch. Size 3/0 teasers, for example, can provide a lot of fun with short fluke inside bay and harbor waters. They are small enough to provide plenty of action and big enough to turn the head of an occasional keeper. Crush the barbs on these teasers when fishing in shallow areas where shorts are sure to outnumber keepers by a wide margin.
If keeper fluke and sea bass are the point, a size 4/0 to 6/0 teaser is a more logical choice. The larger profile of these sizes seems to discourage runts, and sometimes even intimidates sea robins. A 4/0 is sufficient for most bay and Long Island Sound fishing. For open ocean waters, or ports with a big fish reputation such as Greenport, Montauk or Nantucket Shoals, a 5/0 size generally works fine. It discourages small fish from biting, can be tipped with a decent sized sweetener, and has the strength to handle the largest doormat or knob-headed sea biscuit you'll ever hook.
Of course, if you need to know which teaser colors and styles are hot at the moment, or need help narrowing down your teaser choices, you can call or stop by the shop and ask for a little advice. You can also check out the entire White Water Marine Outfitters fly and teaser collection here.
- Bryce Poyer