Florida's Peter Thliveros took fishing a soft plastic minnow bait to the next level when he popularized the "Petey Rig," featuring a finesse weight pegged 10 to 12 inches in front of a weightless, Texas rigged Fluke.
Over the course of his career, Thliveros has earned well over $100,000 casting the unique offering to bass from coast to coast. Typically rigged weightless and twitched around cover or over shallow grass, Thliveros proved that the Fluke can be deadly when rigged in an unconventional manner.
Fellow Elite Series pro Grant Goldbeck has also discovered that the Fluke can be an effective tool when paired with a weight. However, Goldbeck prefers to Texas rig the Fluke with a 3/8-ounce tungsten slip sinker and allow the weight to slide freely along his main lane. "A lot of people think that when you're fishing a soft plastic shad bait that you're targeting schooling fish or postspawn," says Goldbeck. "In the summer, fish will get offshore and position on brush and rock."
Whenever the bass are holding on cover in deeper water, a Texas rigged Fluke has the potential to trigger both reaction and hunger strikes. "When the bait is falling, it looks like a wounded baitfish," he says. "That's why I don't peg my weight. If the weight is pegged, the bait just drops straight down.
If the weight is sliding freely on the line, the bait will follow the weight to the bottom and will have a subtle side-to-side action as it falls. Those fish can't stand it." Generally, Goldbeck will use a 3/8-ounce tungsten weight but will go as light as 1/4 ounce in calm conditions or in shallower water. If he's targeting dense cover or water deeper than 20 feet, he'll use a 5/8-ounce tungsten weight. "You want to be able to pop the bait over the cover and then let it flutter down. It's a really natural presentation that is similar to twitching a Fluke when it's weightless."
While most Texas rigged soft plastics are intended to imitate a crawfish, lizard, worm or other bottom-dwelling prey, Goldbeck believes that a weighted Fluke closely mimics baitfish like bluegill or shad. Once the bait is lowered into a brushpile, it mimics a feeding baitfish.
"It's a great way to catch a big fish and also put a lot of fish in the boat," Goldbeck says. "Sometimes you have to think outside the box to get a lot more bites and catch bigger fish. Don't be scared to do it."
(Provided by Z3 Media)