Release the big flatties
  |  First Published: December 2011

Throughout the past month you might have noticed an increase in flathead numbers in Botany Bay, the lower Georges River and the bottom end of Port Hacking.

The larger female fish come down towards the ocean to spawn and not far behind them are the males. So get out those hard and soft lures and get out there.

But please release the larger females – we need them to breed next year and the year after, too.

Kingfish have picked up, too. Scotty Lyons and many other anglers have been getting them in Botany Bay, Port Hacking, The Peak and off Wedding Cake Island at Coogee.

When these guys come out to play you will need to make sure that your drags are smooth, your knots are tied correctly and you have your wits about you. Try live-baiting or casting soft plastics or surface poppers.

Downrigging has taken off in recent years and is a great way to increase your catch rate.


You can catch mulloway throughout the year but I find that the warmer months produce more fish for me. Although many people prefer to chase mulloway at night, I like to chase jewies during the day.

I like to work around the tides. Generally speaking, the outgoing tidal run is stronger than the incoming and runs for a longer period. Any water coming down the river or inlet as the tide rises will back up the flow, which slows and shortens the duration of the incoming tidal run.

In tidal estuaries, the best places to fish are the channels where the tide runs strongest. The best time to fish in these locations is just before and after slack water, when the tide is not running particularly fast.

Slack water usually occurs on full tide, or a little later, and within an hour or two of low tide, depending on the flow from upstream.

In my experience, the times most likely to produce a mulloway in a tidal estuary are as the low or high tide slows, slackens and just begins to pick up speed again.

I think the very best time is during the last hour or so of the outgoing tide as the current begins to slow down toward slack water. Your chances of catching a mulloway improve for the next two hours or so until the incoming tide picks up speed.

After that your chances of catching mulloway decline until the tide slows down toward full. This is another good time and will round off a trip lasting approximately six hours.

In tidal estuaries, it is important to fish the tides rather than at any particular time of the day or night.


Who would think that a mulloway would take a liking to a small piece of painted metal with a couple of trebles in it? I don’t know how many mulloway I have hooked over the past few years on blades but I do know that they work.

Not long ago I was working soft plastics for mulloway around the base of one of our local bridges and decided to switch to a blade. I caught five mulloway to 4kg in 30 minutes before the change of the low tide.

All I did was throw the blade up current of the base of the bridge pylon, allow it to flutter down to the bottom and then slowly raise the rod tip. This allowed the current to pick up the blade and I bunny hopped it back to the boat with each lift of the rod tip.

All of the takes occurred as the blade was fluttering back down to the bottom.

Don’t forget to spray or rub on some scent on the blade; a mulloway will sometimes come back after a first strike hasn’t hooked up.

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