The 2012 Gold Coast Flathead Classic, proudly supported by BlueFin Boats and Carlton Mid, was another roaring success with record numbers of fish landed, measured and released, record scores for the winners and a great time had by all.
With the best weather conditions seen in many years lots of keen anglers put in full days of fishing, which resulted in great capture numbers. A total of 4,918 flathead were caught with 2,653 of them being legal fish over the 40cm minimum length.
The event attracted 434 anglers who made up 178 teams, and every angler landed at least one fish – a testament to the productivity of the Gold Coast and Jumpinpin waterways.
The event runs for 2 1/2 days, culminating in a Saturday afternoon lunch and presentation where the overall results and the random draw prizes are revealed. And while speaking of catering, this year’s catering, by Catering By Clancy was easily the best feeds I have seen and had at a Flathead Classic yet. It was brilliant, fast and super tasty! Just what was required after a hard day fishing for flatties.
On the first night we all had the pleasure to be witness to the unveiling of the prize boat by BlueFin Boats. The prize boat was a Drifter Tournament Pro and was presented in a one-off wrap specially made for the Flathead Classic. The Drifter Tournament Pro was fully spec’ed out and was matched to an Oceanic Trailer and fitted with a 60hp Suzuki by the team at Whitewater Marine. The BlueFin Drifter Tournament Pro created a lot of interest with competitors and they all had envious thoughts about winning it in the random draw on the final day.
The tournament venue was larger than ever and there were a number of sponsors who displayed their goods including The Mad Huis, Evolution, Adventure Outlet, Diztek Lures, Whitewater Marine/Suzuki, BlueFin Boats, Lowrance, Bozos and we have to give a special mention to Austackle who donated 100% of their profits to The Smith Family Children’s Charity.
For the first time the Carlton Mid Rich Fish went off, with Roy Latter from Team Dog taking home a cool $5,000 thanks to Carlton Mid. The Carlton Mid Rich Fish is a tagged flathead (this year 20 were tagged) that is released prior to the competition and the first angler to land a tagged Rich Fish wins themselves $5,000. Roy was a member of the Champion Team (Team Dog) who amassed an amazing and record breaking 5,515 points. Two of the team featured in the top 3 individual anglers overall and captain Graham Dodds finished first in the individual overall scores.
Team Dog trolled the middle banks between the Aldershots and Crab Island and worked over an area with a strategy of targeting large numbers of flathead rather than size. The team aimed to keep ticking over fish to accumulate their points and this strategy certainly paid off for them. They concentrated on trolling the shallows with Lively Lure Micro Mullets and had a very busy time with patches of fish coming on the chew and providing fast and furious action. An amazing effort!
Coming in second for the second year in a row was Team Sands with 4,525 points. Things were a bit different on the Team Sands boat this year with junior Cooper Sands getting the call up. He took his place in the team fishing alongside his Dad and Great Uncle Kev who, at the age of 71, still travels up all the way from Tassie to fish the tournament. The three generation trio had a tough first day but turned it around late in the day and over the next one and a half to make up ground to take out second place, and to also win champion mixed age team. Cooper took to his first Classic like an old pro, fishing well to take out the Champion Junior and Champion Club Junior. Not a bad effort for his first Classic experience.
Team On Strike stepped it up this year to slot themselves into third position with 4,432 points, which saw them also take runners up mixed age team. It was great to see so many teams fishing with a junior on the deck. Consistent finishers Plastics Paranoia finished fourth. The boys played their cards very close their chests and snuck off to ‘secret’ spots to tick over numbers of small fish.
Rounding out the top 5 was Whyte Boys Can’t Jig. The brothers had a fantastic day one, blitzing many in the field and while still ticking over the numbers throughout the comp they could not match the day one effort.
The champion 2 person team was Anglers Connection, taking this out for the second year running.
The Champion Senior was Graham Doddss from Team Dog with 2,057 points. Graham’s lure of choice was the omnipresent Lively Lure Micro Mullet. Runner up Champion was young club member Tom Ryan. Tom has worked his way through the junior ranks and only a few years ago was the Junior Champion at the Classic. Tom netted a 91cm beast on day one that boosted his points. His efforts were also rewarded as he was capped Champion Club member.
Champion Female was Fay Rohweder with 838 points fishing in an all female team with junior angler Mariah Neilsen. The pair won the champion female team. Club member Tamara Anderson certainly enjoyed her first Classic experience, not only out fishing the fellas on the boat but also finishing as runner up champion female.
The biggest flathead caught was a whopping 96cm specimen. She was caught by Michael Green in team Dead Fishy. They were trolling a Lively Lures Micro Mullet along the weed edges around the flats of the Pin area. The fish gave Michael a bit of curry taking him over 15 minutes to boat on light line and after his Dad apparently missed it with the net four times! Michael received the Humminbird Biggest Flathead trophy and a Humminbird sounder.
There were two 91cm fish caught on day one by Mick Horn and Tom Ryan. Both these came on soft plastics. Mick’s was the first capture and he was awarded the biggest flathead on a soft plastic Mick was using one of his favourite Z-Man plastics to work the drop-offs around Crusoe Island.
The random draw was once again a real highlight for the event. A lucky 7 Seniors and 3 Juniors were added to the draw each night to have their chance to win a boat. For the seniors it was the fabulous BlueFin Drifter Tournament Pro package worth close to $30,000 and the Juniors were chasing the Blue Fin Catfish and Suzuki 4hp. Nobody went home empty-handed with all juniors in the competition receiving a prize thanks to Tackleworld and Engel and all 28 seniors in the draw taking home a swag of fantastic prizes.
It is always exciting once it’s down to the final two and you have them sitting in the boat. This year saw George Sands and Gavin Dunne taking the last two spots for the prize boat. The winner was Gavin Dunne taking home the BlueFin boat package and George Sands missing out but taking away a great Minn Kota iPilot/Humminbird package .
A big thanks to the dedicated members and committee who make this event happen. There were a great number of people who offered their support this year and the event certainly benefitted from having a few more hands on deck. Well done team Gold Coast Sportfishing Club! – Christine Hunt with Stephen Booth
The Winners Team Dog
Team Dog was a standout performer at this year’s Flatty Classic amassing a record breaking team score, having all three anglers finish in the Top 10 Individual placings and also catching the tagged Carlton Mid Rich Fish for an extra $5,000.
The team consisted of Graham Dodds (2,057 points and 1st individual), Roy Latter (1,914 points and 2nd individual) and Paul Phillips (1,544 points and 9th individual). The team overall score was 5,515 points and this was made up of 138 fish, of which 98 were scoring fish over 40cm. Surprisingly to many, Team Dog did not land a fish over 55cm for the competition and concentrated fully on putting together numbers of scoring fish.
We spoke to Graham Dodds, a veteran of 18 of the 19 Classic held, about the amazing performance of his team and he was open about everything from the lures they used to the locations they fished. And as Graham said, “There’s no point keeping secrets when 40 other boats are fishing alongside you now is there?”.
The lure of choice for Team Dog was a Lively Lure Micro Mullet in pink and purple, although they did experiment with a customised pink bits Micro Mullet and also a standard green. However it became apparent after the first two hours that pink and purple was the colour.
The team fished a few locations and by the end of day one they had settled on a little patch of water they call the Ghost Hole (named after the ghost colour Lively Lure that traditionally fishes very well in this hole), a depression between Crab Island and the Aldershots that drains out to about 3’ at low tide and carries about 8’ of water at high tide. Graham said “It’s covered in weed and sometimes difficult to fish, however the clean running nature of the Micro Mullets means you can troll the Ghost Hole at any stage of the tide”.
Some of the points made by Graham during our chat included the need to slow right down and work your lures hard. He uses an old 2-stroke outboard that he swears trolls a little slower than most of the modern motors. And when you add some vigorous rod work to the slow speed, the erratic nature of the trolled lure being worked and the clever boat driving, the recipe for success is clear. Graham also noted the presence of a lot of baitfish. He said “Usually there are baitfish in the depression at high tide, but during the comp the baitfish were there all day. There were also dugongs playing around, turtles and birds. The area was definitely hot with activity”.
Another tips Graham had was the need to run lures relatively short. He said he would rarely troll a lure further back than a good cast and would prefer a drop back of less than 20m, quite often significantly less. Like other keen flathead trollers, Team Dog definitely believe the boat does not spook the flathead. In fact with over a dozen multiple hook-ups (doubles and triples) the evidence is pretty clear that just maybe the boat and the prop act as a bit of a FAD for flatties.
Graham said he’d love to thank Alan Dolan from Lively Lures for his support over the years, Tony Moore from Sporty’s, Doug Burt and Kevin Ballantine for their support over the years and their continual sharing of information. Graham said “It’s the kind of information that makes it worthwhile walking through the door of your local tackle store. You just can’t get that anywhere else”.
Congratulations to Graham, Roy and Paul on a stunning, tournament long effort. It will be hard to repeat those sort of numbers next year, but as Graham said with a smile “This year everything worked for us and it was good fun fishing catching so many flathead”.
Overall Senior Results
|68||Shayne 'Cuddles' McKee||737|
|83||Gary 'Squidgie' Palmer||666|
|136||Shane 'The Hobbit' Juttner||498|
|142||John McGrath (PP)||471|
|334||Angler 1 Wildcats||59|
|352||Angler 2 Wildcats||15|
Top 30 Teams Overall
|3||Team On Strike||4432|
|5||Whyte Boyz Cant jig||3534|
|7||Team TT Lures Z-Man||3306|
|9||Keep It Cool||3089|
|10||Anglers Connection Bait & Tackle||2558|
|12||Beer n Bullsh!t||2277|
|13||Queensland Fishing Monthly||2232|
|17||Team Next Year||1956|
|18||The Jig Spitters||1954|
|19||Currumbin Boatshed Biat & Tackle||1934|
|22||The Creek Clubbies Anglers Connect||1879|
|23||The Mad Huis||1873|
|24||Tug Tellum Too||1838|
|26||Gem Bait & Tackle||1835|
|27||The Creek Clubbies||1772|
Overall Junior Results