Flat out on flatties
  |  First Published: September 2011

September means flathead season throughout the ‘Pin system and this is when the big females head through the Bar in search of a breeding mate. These fish are going to need a lot of energy so they will be feeding up all month.

It’s a good time to mention the size and bag limits as it’s very possible to catch a heap of lizards in a short space of time during their breeding season. Size limits for flathead are 40-75cm with a bag limit of five per angler.

Please only take what you need and treat the larger females with care when releasing them, as each female is capable of producing millions of eggs, which will go a long way in ensuring our flathead stocks for the future.

All flathead can’t resist a well presented pilchard so be sure to grab a few before heading out on your next trip.

Depending on the weather conditions I would be heading straight out to Kalinga Bank and drifting on either the incoming or outgoing tide in the deeper water. Basically from the bottom of North Straddie, along the top of Crusoe Island to the point of Short Island should be littered with flathead in search of a mate and an easy feed.

Other firing spots for lizards are the Stockyards, the north mouth of McKenzies Channel, the bottom of Kangaroo Island and the sand flats off the western side of Tabby Tabby Island.

The best part of drifting for flathead with bait or plastics is the by-catch. I’ve been picking up tailor, bream, small snapper, sole and Australian salmon. The salmon have shown up with the tailor and have been a little finicky in what baits they’ll take. They were smashing up all around my boat and they wouldn’t take bait, plastics or small chrome lures. But persistence pays and a pillie on the bottom finally brought one undone.

Chopper tailor have been in good numbers but only small schools or just the odd random one in the weirdest of spots like near Cabbage Tree boat ramp, in the Logan near Marks Rocks and near the entrance to Calypso Bay. They’ve been hitting pillies, prawns, whitebait, small baby blues and any soft plastic or hardbodied lure that looks like these.

Bream are a staple throughout the ‘Pin and will always be available right throughout the year. The quality of these fish does drop off a bit and the larger fish are harder to catch as their season comes to an end. Try all the usual hot spots like the Short Bank, the Pig Sties, Fishermans channel, the Powerlines and Cobby Passage.

Whiting should start up in better numbers this month as the water temperature increases. Try beach worms, blood worms and yabbies around Tipplers Island, the Never Fail islands, off Couran Cove, the Gold Bank, the mouth of Cobby Passage and Alberton Sands in the Logan River.

If you are heading out through the Bar big cobia should be on offer. The close reefs like Alfs, Sullys and the Dragon are all great bait grounds and these attract the big cobia in to feed. Jigging for bait and then fishing with them or pillies should get a strike from a hungry cobia but make sure your fishing gear is up to scratch as these things can grow to over 100lb. There will also be snapper, jew and the odd pearly available.

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