Feathers for flathead
  |  First Published: November 2013

Spring is big flathead time and this season has started with a bang!

Lake Tyers has once again lived up to its reputation for producing crocodile size lizards, with multiple reports of fish in the 80-90cm range. Micheal Newman landed and released a genuine 1m, 17lb monster on a tiny soft plastic grub and 3lb leader! Well done mate! Local bloke Matthew Dugins has also been finding some huge specimens up to 91cm again on soft plastics and light leaders.

Working the sand flats and points in the Nowa Nowa arm will put you in with a good shot at one of these ‘fish of a lifetime’; just remember to work areas thoroughly and don’t overlook the small pockets in the backs of bays.

Mixed in with these jumbo flatties are plenty of smaller 30-50cm fish, which are perfect eating size.

There have been solid numbers of bream on the sand banks as well, so it pays to work a few hardbodies or surface lures through the snags.

Some big tailor are making their presence felt and have no problems biting through light leaders used when chasing bream. Try spinning or trolling with shallow running Rapala X-Raps and metal slugs, or use a whole garfish on ganged hooks and float it out under a small cork float. This is a great way of connecting with some of the larger choppers.

One technique we have been using a lot more is fly fishing for flathead. While many have been doing this for years, it’s certainly opened our eyes to how effective it can be in super shallow water. Clouser minnows, Crazy Charlies and larger prawn patterns have so far proved their worth in the upper reaches around Burnt Bridge and Cherry Tree. Colours that have been best lately are loud reaction colours like chartreuse, orange, pink and when the water is dirty we use dark colours to create a silhouette. If you haven’t tried it yet, I recommend giving it a go as it’s pretty exciting!

Around Lakes Entrance the water is pretty dirty and the fishing has been fairly slow. The local seal colony is growing rapidly and they seem to be everywhere. Some good bags of salmon and tailor have been caught at Bullock Island and Kalimna Jetty on pilchard fillets fished under a float. Trevally have been caught along the Kalimna rock wall on pipi and peeled prawn, along with plenty of pinky snapper up to about 800g.

The whiting should be showing up along the weed beds in the coming weeks. Fish the last few hours of the tides with fresh mussel, live shrimp or pipi or prawn and wind slowly along the bottom, and use mussel shells as berley to attract the whiting.

The luderick are a little slow and seem to prefer the darker red weed to the more commonly used green weed. Running float rigs with the bait set around 7ft below the surface is perfect. Some big drummer have been hooked on the entrance wall on mussel and crab and have been incredibly hard to stop, even on heavier gear. Just remember the rocks can be a dangerous place to fish, so please be careful.

The surf beaches have fished well of late for salmon and on the warmer nights there have been some nice gummies caught on squid legs and fresh salmon strips. The sand crabs have been in plague proportions some nights but it’s worth sitting through these as the gummies love to eat them.

Spinning with metal lures will see you catch some good salmon and tailor. Keep your eyes out for birds working patches of bait and deeper holes between the sand bars. Bait fishing with squid legs, pilchards and surf poppers on a paternoster rig work a treat.

Hopefully the weed doesn’t make an appearance this year as it ruins the surf for weeks on end.

The snapper have shown up on the reef systems in good numbers and bags limits have been filled in no time. Most are under 40cm fish but there’s the odd thumper to 8kg mixed in.

The schools of slimy mackerel have been thick so fresh bait is easily collected; snapper love slimy mackerel! A few squid have been hammering snapper baits and again can be easily caught on a jig and make great bait too.

In closer to the beaches the flathead and gummies have been caught in the 15-20m depth range while drifting, anchoring and berleying. It also pays to have a bait out under a balloon as a few big bronze whalers and hammerheads have been seen cruising around the schools of slimies.

Stay safe on the water.

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