June, and it’s getting cold. Heck, it is cold. The time is 4.30am and I’ve just finished getting dressed. Last weekend I was able to wear my normal fishing clothes (normally one layer) but this morning I’ve got three sets of thermals on, my normal fishing gear and two heavy jackets over that and I’m feeling nice and toasty. My mate Richard Creighton is on his way down with his Bull Shark (boat) and today our plan is to hit all our flathead spots with the aim of a few legals for lunch.
Ric turned up right on time at daybreak, a good mate. He put the boat in at Kennedy Drive boat ramp by himself then headed around to my place to pick me up as I live right on the water. I grabbed my gear, made two coffees and headed down to the boat for a quick discussion on where we would fish and what lures we would use.
After much talk and a sausage roll we decided to take two rods each, one with a soft plastic and the other with a hardbody. I chose an Atomic Hardz shallow diver in the muddy prawn colour and a Gulp Shrimp in the speckled pink colour. Ric used a Diawa Double Clutch deep diver and a Zman Curly TailZ in the motor oil colour.
We decided to start down near Seagulls, actually right next to Seagulls as there’s a lot of weed and sand there and it’s normally a pretty awesome place to find lizards. Straight away we were smiling, as we were getting a lot of fish. However, a legal flathead is 40cm and do you think we could get one over 40?
We did eventually but it took at least 30 fish before we landed a 46cm flatty. I lost count of the number of 38cm fish we caught. I kept looking at their mouths to see if we’d already caught them before, as that’s happened to me in the past, but there were no tell tale signs. Clearly the place is full of miniature flatties. Sometimes that can mean there could be a big female around somewhere and we tried very hard to find her but to no avail. We could only get that one legal fish which we kept alive in the live well, eventually letting him go but he will never know how lucky he was! If we had caught three more of his brothers he would have been lunch.
While we were fishing I noticed two old salts in a little tinny fishing for luderick in the middle of the river. I’d never seen this before as all the rock walls around the bridges are the usual haunts for the black bream hunters. Then I noticed they were nailing fish after fish. I said to Ric, “Mate, we’re chasing the wrong fish!”
Ric shook his head. “Nah, luderick fishing is like lawn bowls, we’ll do it when we get older, then we can reminisce about all this stuff we’re doing now.” It sounded like a pretty good retirement plan.
Getting back to the flathead hunt, we tried the banks, mangroves, spent five hours with hundreds of casts all for one legal fish. It was a great morning even so, as it’s not all about catching your limit. It’s cool to hang out with your best mate, talking about life, work and stuff while secretly trying to cast a bit better and catch more fish than him.
OK, so what’s biting in the river? Well I can tell you there are a lot of little flathead around Seagulls and if those chaps were getting luderick where I saw them (i.e. the middle of river) I think those fish should start showing up at all the usual spots. These include down the end of Dry Dock Road at the rock wall near the boat ramp, and also at the maritime cadet school and around Boyds Bay Bridge, particularly on the south side.
How you catch these fish? I don’t know. I’d try to learn, but apparently I have to wait till I’m older.
I’d give Cobaki Lakes a try for flathead and you don’t have to have a boat to fish this area; if you Google it you can see that you can walk a good section of this part of the river almost right up to the back of the airport.
Lastly, bream and tailor are being landed in numbers off Fingal around both rock walls at the river mouth. Jack Evans Boat Harbour is always worth a cast as well. Oh, and at honey hole, it doesn’t look fishable but tie on a heavy sinker and try behind the hospital as some queenies have been caught there recently.Reads: 731