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Best flathead season ever
  |  First Published: March 2015



I know it’s a big call, but if you had seen the quantity and average size of the flatties that are being caught down this neck of the woods, you would be saying the same thing.

INSIDE MCLOUGHLINS

It’s been such good fishing inside that there is nearly no reason to talk about the offshore fishing.

The lure fishing for the big southern blue spot flathead has been amazing. We have seen some seriously big fish this month and fish in excess of 80cm haven’t been uncommon. These fish are big and fight hard in the shallow water, especially on light soft plastics style gear. Both McLaughlins, Manns and Robertsons beaches are all producing flatties and especially on the channel edges and sand flats on the run-out tide.

Bigger plastics will catch bigger flatties, but the smaller plastics will get you numbers. Jighead sizes are important and if it’s windy like it has been, use heavier sizes such as 1/4oz to fight the wind and current and get to the bottom.

If your not a lure chucker, don’t worry, the bait anglers are catching just as many. Simply use a running sinker rig or a light paternoster and you will catch plenty as well. Use Blue bait, prawns and pipis at the moment and there will be plenty to catch.

Anglers using pipis are catching some good whiting as well, we just aren’t hearing of any anglers catching their bag. This month saw some whoppers back at the boat ramp and a couple of the whiting anglers had were over 45cm, yet I had customers who fished in similar locations and could only catch undersized ones. This is pretty weird for this time of the year.

INSIDE PORT ALBERT

You will certainly get a mixed bag inside the port, but the biggest problem is the pinkies. They are everywhere, and yes it would be good if they were all big but the sad truth is that 90% of them are undersized. However, if you persist, there are really good fish amongst them and don’t be surprised if you catch half a dozen to 45cm over in the shallow waters where you chase whiting.

In the Snake Channel, the snapper are bigger and there are still anglers catching their bag of moderate sized snapper to 65cm as well as those perfect plate sized ones as well. Bigger baits are essential at the moment to stop the small pickers from getting your bait off and by using larger hooks such as a 6/0 you will stop those annoying undersized pinkies from getting hooked and they’ll leave your bait for the larger ones.

There are plenty of trevally around as well and they make the best bait, so if you catch one I would suggest putting a fillet on for a snapper, gummy and big flathead. The flathead are going as well as they are at McLoughlins and it’s probably a good time to remind everyone that these large flathead are all female and are inside the inlet to lay their eggs. This time of year is good to limit the amount of large flathead you keep as I can guarantee you every single of them will be chockers full of eggs. The flathead that 45cm and under are better ones to keep this time of year as they are good chance to be male fish and not have eggs.

OFFSHORE

It’s been so tough to get outside due to the wind and I think everyone will agree it’s been the windiest summer in a long time. Those who are managing to get out are being rewarded.

In close around Whale Bay and Bentley Harbour there are loads of good-sized gummies and it hasn’t been uncommon for boats to get up to 4 a trip to 1.2m in length.

Further east, the pinkies are going well out on the reefs and out wide around the islands; there are plenty of schools of 40cm pinkies around as well as tonnes of perfect sized flathead between 35-50cm.

1

Pete Moretti has landed some massive flathead this month using soft plastics in the shallows at McLoughlins beach.

2

Ben Barnes and the author had a cracker of a day on the pinkies at Port Albert. If you persist through the small ones you will get the bigger ones as well.

3

Lochie caught this 65cm flatty at Manns Beach.

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