Big flatties on plastics
  |  First Published: December 2012

Flathead are renowned for being a fish that will take a variety of different lures, especially soft plastics!

When anglers want to start using soft plastics they will generally target flathead because of this. The Sunshine Coast estuaries have been producing standout flathead over the last few months. To be specific, the mouth of the Noosa River (Frying Pan) and the ski runs have been the best bet.

Flathead have been called a lazy fish because of their tendency to wait on the bottom for its prey and not hunting for it. Big flathead are scattered throughout the estuaries, which makes them a great fish to target. They are found in shallower waters, mainly on the flats or the edges of small drop offs and beach gutters, waiting for any prey to drift over their heads. Flathead will face towards the current, waiting for baitfish or prawns to drift towards them. So this is pretty much a clear indication that fishing on the bottom gives the angler the best chance.

When anglers are targeting mulloway on the bottom or bream around sand flats, it’s a regular occurrence that a flathead will come up and eat the plastic. Flathead will take a plastic that looks natural and is presented well.

Starting with the weight of the jighead that the plastic will be rigged on, it depends on the depth of water, and the size of the plastic you are using. Usually, a jighead of 1/8oz or 1/6oz are ideal no matter what the depth of water. If you use soft plastics ranging from 2.5”-5” that look natural in colour and match the baitfish in the river at the time, you’ll be successful when targeting flathead.

For example, if there are small prawns running in the river, use a small prawn imitation plastic; it’s as simple as that!

My favourite plastics for flathead include the Atomic Plazo Prong 3” in motor oil gold colour, Squidgies Fish in black/gold colour, and Berkley Gulp 3” Minnows in banana prawn colour.

Every angler will have their own preferred technique for flathead. Some using more violent twitches, while others prefer a slow roll or kill and burn technique. It is always key to keep your plastic on the bottom, and to not fish too fast. Flathead will lie in wait, and when they see the lure, they will look at it for a short while and then hit it, or instantly ‘sit’ on the lure.

When using soft plastic that have a good action, including many that have curly tails, use a slow roll technique. This basically drags the plastic along the bottom while giving action to the tail, which is very effective. Even though this is a preferred technique for these soft plastics, many other techniques can be used. If using plastics that rely on the angler to put more action into them, it is preferred to use more of a hopping action to get the flathead’s attention.

By putting this knowledge into action, and fishing with the appropriate gear and techniques for these fish, it will make you a more successful angler. The Noosa River in particular has shown some standout flathead being caught recently, so have a chat with the staff at Hooked on Angling and Outdoors in Tewantin, and they will give you very helpful advice to fish for this species in the river.

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