Flatties and kings
  |  First Published: December 2010

This is one of my favourite months, mainly because the flathead head down to lower estuary to breed and feed, and the kingfish move in from the offshore reefs to take up residence in the bays and estuaries.

Last year there was a great turn-up of kingfish in Botany Bay, Port Hacking and Bate Bay, off Cronulla. This year should be no different.

As in past years, although the numbers will be quite high, most initially will consist of undersized ‘rats’ (under the legal 65cm).

Their size will increase as December merges into the New Year, but their numbers will stay the same. You just have to remember to release those undersized fish and keep only your bag limit of five or fewer.

Many anglers have their own preferences for kingfish bait. I like small live squid, small yellowtail and slimy mackerel, strips of fresh squid or squid heads, large peeled Hawkesbury River prawns and three or four pink nippers bunched on a hook. You can use strips of tuna, frigate mackerel, yellowtail or pike

Soft plastics work, including 5” and 7” Gulp Jerk Shads on 3/0 to 6/0 Nitro heads from 1/8oz to 3/8oz on 3kg to 6kg rods with 8kg braid.

Places in Botany Bay worth a look for kingfish this month include Molineux Point, Henry Head, The Drums, the Oil Wharf, the end of the Third Runway, Bare Island and Sutherland Point.

Just out of Port Hacking, try Shark Island, Jibbon Bombora and Osborne Shoals while inside the Port there is the deep water in Gymea and Yowie bays.


The flathead will start to school up throughout the deeper section of the Georges, Woronora, Cooks and Hacking rivers to breed and feed.

They will also congregate at the edges of drop-offs in Botany and Bate bays.

Live and dead baits will do the job but hard-bodied lures, soft plastics and blades provide plenty of fun and lots of fish.

Try working the shallow sand bars and mud flats during the higher parts of the tide and work the deep sections of the rivers and bays at the lower tide.

Flathead just love to lie in wait for that next meal to come along because they don’t tend to use up too much energy chasing a feed that way.

You could also try slowly trolling a few hard-bodied lures along the edges of the drop-offs. You’d be surprised at what you might pick up as well as flathead.

Trevally, bream, whiting and mulloway can be some pretty interesting by-catch while fishing for flathead.

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