Flatties out and about
  |  First Published: December 2010

Flathead are definitely out and about this month and good numbers have been landed.

The bigger fish seem to be out in water deeper than 8m during the day but can be found in the shallows just before sunrise and at dusk.

We have found that smaller lures such as 3”and 4” minnows on light jig heads are working well in the skinny water. A slower retrieve is more productive.

While talking flatties, I was browsing internet fishing forums the other night to see how others have been going lately and I came across a type of thread that is really starting to annoy me.

I am one for releasing big flathead and a lot more people are starting to do the same these days, but if someone wants to keep one, they haven’t broken the law and it is their right.

The topic started with a 12-year-old-boy who had caught a 96cm flathead in Swansea Channel and the photo showed him obviously very proud of his achievement. Before long, before the usual suspects started posting how he should have released it and just doing the usual ‘big flathead bashing’ thing they always do.

A fish like that is a catch of a lifetime and most people would not have caught a flathead that big so for a young kid to get one, I say good on him for a great catch and I bet he will release other big ones he catches because he has now kept one.

As long as people keep to bag limits and aren’t breaking the law, leave them alone if you have nothing good to say. Let’s leave it at that.


Around the start of the month when the prawns are running, 2”and 3” Gulp Shrimp in banana prawn will work well around the weed beds and sand flats.

For those who can get right into the shallows, surface lures can be just as deadly on flathead at this time. The new Berkley 3B Pop Dog has caught me quite a few flathead now and can be worked to look like a fleeing prawn – flathead, bream and whiting can’t resist.

I have mainly used them near the boat ramp at Lake Road in Swansea and down towards Murrays Beach.

Don’t think that people in boats are the only ones who can get to the best spots. Salts Bay has plenty of bream now, particularly if once a southerly has been blowing for a couple of days.

Walking the shoreline there at dusk casting these lures can result in a number of bream.

You can always wade early mornings and late afternoons near Coon Island Caravan Park for bream, whiting and flathead. It is going to be difficult there during the day because numbers of boats and swimmers are going to increase dramatically as the holidays near. If you get out very early you won’t have as many to contend with.


Apart from the usual bream, whiting and flathead, this month we should see an improvement in the number of kingies and jewies in the lake.

Around the Drop-over this time last year was amazing, with so many kingies and the lake just seemed to be full of jewies. I hope we get a repeat.

Most of the Drop-over kingies were caught on casting poppers cast at the channel markers, on fresh squid or by trolling around the edge and out towards the yacht marker. The Halco Roosta poppers in red and white were great although white Gulp 7” Jerk Shads were also productive.

Around Swansea Bridge, the kingies should be about in numbers and the same techniques will work here.

Floating a fresh squid back towards the bridge should result in hook-ups but make sure your gear is up for it – even a small fish can make you work.

With Christmas around the corner you might need some new toys. I have tried a few new Pflueger rods recently and the Patriarch XTR rods impressed. The 7’, 14-25lb would be ideal for chasing kingies and jewies, as would the two-piece 6-10kg Trion. In the upmarket Berkley Venom series the Black Mamba or even the Copperhead could be for you.

Most people will want a feed of fish for the holidays and one of the tastiest is the whiting, which can be readily caught from the shore or from a boat.

As bait you can’t go past live blood or tube worms. The sand flats around Coon Island Caravan Park, Swan Bay, the Channel, Black Neds Bay and Salts Bay will have plenty of whiting this month on bait and lures.

Blacksmiths breakwall and the adjoining beach should have numbers of whiting and bream taking live beach worms.

Blue swimmer crabs are out and about so get your witches’ hats per person and drop them when you head out for a fish and pick them up at the end of the day.

You could gather a seafood smorgasbord by dropping your pots on the way out in the afternoon, having a flick with lures for flathead and jew and then prawning on dark. You’ll have to remember where your crab nets were on the way home.


Offshore, there have been trag and tailor to a kilo on the Dumping Ground.

Down at Redhead there should be plenty of good flathead on the drift and a stack of trag and a few reds on the reefs.

Further south, kingfish have been trolled and spun up around the headlands. The Farm should have a few snapper and morwong but there don’t seem to be any mahi mahi on the FAD yet.

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