The warmer weather is just around the corner, not that winter was really cold in our parts. Spring is here and, of course, that means it’s flathead time.
Flathead and spring is like snags and sauce, Warne and McGrath and Saturday afternoons and cold beers – it’s just meant to be. Lure fishers everywhere just love spring for the opportunity to target these mostly abundant and willing Aussie iconic fish. Flathead has probably been most lure angler’s first fish they caught on a lure or plastic, which puts them in a special place for those anglers. Of course the other place we like to put them is in a pan. Even though I don’t eat a lot of fish, flathead taste great, they are relatively easy to clean and there’s not much wasted so they really are a great fish to take home.
I do get to meet a lot of people that love their fishing at work (Coopers Hardware Bundaberg) and most have either tried or would like to try lure fishing. Well this month is absolutely the best month to get out and target flathead on both soft plastic and hardbodied lures.
The first tip I give to those wanting to target flathead is to fish where the fish are. This sounds very obvious doesn’t it? But when you put some finer points to that you do have to do some thinking. Flathead live on the bottom and try to blend in with their surroundings and then dart out and grab their prey. So the biggest lesson there for those learning is to make sure your lure or plastic is on the bottom where the flathead can see it. Flathead will pretty much eat anything that swims in front of them in spring, as they are very active doing their bit making more flathead which of course gives them an appetite. Sand bar drop-offs and ledges is a great place to find flathead as they face into the tide waiting for small fish and prawns to wash down with the tide. If you wander around sand flats at low tide, sometimes you can spot where the flathead was lying in wait for their prey, you will see a flathead shaped indentation in the sand. This of course would be a great place to fish when the water is on it because it’s obviously an area flathead are actively feeding.
Trolling for flathead is the least physically active way to put you right in with a great chance of catching them. It can be as easy as grabbing a couple of small lures and tying them onto your rods and dragging them behind the boat until a flathead eats it, which does work. Or if you want to improve your catch rate, select lures that dive the depth you are trolling that ensure they are on the bottom the whole time you are trolling them. You can also watch the water and your fish finder carefully making sure those lures are being trolled over drop-offs and ledges because having your lure in the strike zone for longer will increase your chances.
When I catch a flathead I go through a bit of a checklist in my head. I check water depth, location, lure colour, tide direction, boat direction and how far back that lure was. The reasons is so I can do it again to see if this is a pattern that will catch me more fish. My favourite trolling lures for flathead are the Berkley Frenzy 7cm Deep Diver in the orange colour and the Tilsan Bass in the green and gold and the pink one. Enjoy your spring and look forward when the red boys start to fire up again.Reads: 647