Luke Collins - Estuarine Specialist at Motackle & Outdoors
The humble Flathead, known by many as a bread and butter estuarine species, are easily accessible by all types of anglers. Flathead are very responsive to all types of fishing including lures, fly and bait, and are very tasty on the plate. As an ambush predator, Flathead hide on the bottom awaiting their prey. Usually you can find them in multiple places at certain times of the tide. Some of these include drop offs and drains on the run out tide, where they will lay in wait on the deeper edge for bait being forced off the shallows as the water drains. On a rising tide, and then as it turns to run-out, you will find them spread out on the river flats, and can also be found around structure such as bridges, concentrated around weed beds, rubble or anything that attracts bait. Deeper sections in the river with flow also hold some impressive numbers of Flathead, especially areas that has rocks. Snags although very snaggy, are also another dependable place to find Flathead. The varied areas you can find fish makes the Flathead appealing to all anglers. Most importantly, to find Flathead in your river is to take note of the tide and flow, and then break down the best ambush spots in your local system, that’s where the Flathead are!
Daran Ryan - Fishing Store Manager at Motackle & Outdoors
Bait - Although there's a large group of us anglers (myself included) who get caught up in the excitement of lure fishing, bait fishing is still a great way to catch Flathead and teach anglers. A pack of 2/0 baitkeeper hooks, large enough sinker to get you to the bottom and some worms, prawns or even better, live Yabbies, are a recipe that will soon find you amongst some Flathead. Trapping some Poddy Mullet and utilising a live bait hook will quite often find a better class of fish too.
Soft Plastics - Plastics in pretty much any imitation will pull a Flathead undone when they are biting, but my favourite would have to be a prawn or paddle tail. If you are working 2m or less, a Berkley Gulp 3in Shrimp, or Keitech Easy Shiner 3in paired with a 1/6-1/4 jig head is a great combination. It is important to keep an eye on the size of bait that is around to imitate the size as close as possible, as this can make all the difference. A 7 foot 2-4kg rod and 2500 sized reel paired with 8lb braid and a 12lb leader for the raspy teeth is ideal for plastics fishing. Cast out and allow the plastic to hit the bottom and then a quick hop and let it fall - repeat until you see the flick in the line or there’s weight on the lift! Focusing your time around drop offs, gutters and weed edges will always be productive.
Deep Water - When targeting Flathead in water 3m and below, it is hard to go past soft and hard vibes. A 6’6” to 7’ rod in 3-6kg will allow you to cast vibes up around 100mm comfortably and enable you to keep good contact with the bottom. Slow small lift and drops with lures like the Samaki Vibelicious and Zerek Fish Trap are great for deeper water, and it's worthwhile going up in leader to 15lb or even 20lb. Flathead can quite often be found laying all over each other in deeper sections and it’s a great way to get amongst quality and numbers.
Ash Holdsworth - Fishing Purchasing Assistant Manager & Outdoors
Trolling - Slow trolling edges and the open flats with the outboard idling can help break down areas and locate patches of fish. While the Zerek Tango Shad has proven to be very effective doing this, the Daiwa Double Clutch and Killalure Flatz Rat are also other productive options. The key to trolling is ensuring your lure never has weed on it and occasionally is bumping into the bottom.
Big Baits - It seems hard now to write something about Flathead without covering big bait fishing. Although much more of a grind than any of the other methods, it is unquestionably a great way to move big Flathead if you have the patience. A swim bait rod and a 200 size baitcast or heavy spin outfit may be required for some of the larger options out there. If you want to get into it a Westin 180mm Hypoteez or the new Shimano Armajoint slowed rolled with a few twitches and pauses will find that swimbait bite! And if you are hungry for the surface strike, it's hard to go past the Crossfire or Zerek Affinity twitched and paused like a wounded baitfish.
Matt Townes - Assistant Manager Mail Order at Motackle & Outdoors
Flathead fishing although always popular for a feed, has really exploded in the recent years as clued on fisho's have worked out how to target the XL sized fish on big baits. This renewed passion for one of Australia's bread 'n' butter fish has helped the development of new techniques, and lures, such as glidebaiting and throwing big lures like the crossfires and soft plastic stickbaits like the slapstick.
- Matt Townes - Mail Order Assistant Manager at Motackle & Outdoors