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Flathead re-emerge
  |  First Published: December 2004



For many anglers chasing dusky flathead in Botany Bay it was a very lean Winter, with fish not very responsive to live or dead baits or hard or soft lures. That’s all changed.

A few anglers caught them but action was nowhere near as good as over the past couple of Winters, possibly due to lack of rain. Now that we have had some good falls over recent months the fish have begun to move downstream. The rain helped the fish move downstream but so did the urge to breed.

What usually happens is that the larger females will move down first and those smaller males will not be far behind. This is why you will usually find a larger concentration of flathead down in the lower sections of most rivers on the coast during the early and middle parts of the Summer.

If you are going to chase flathead in Botany Bay you should try places like The Patches off Towra Point, the entrance to Woolooware Bay, the weed patches from Brighton-le-Sands to Dolls Point, the stretch between the Captain Cooks and Tom Uglys bridges, Kogarah Bay and Yarra Bay.

Gunnamatta, Burraneer and Yowie bays in Port Hacking are also good places to start, along with the flats at Maianbar, the Ballast Heap and the stretch of water from Jibbon Headland to South Cronulla.

Best baits are mullet strips, tuna, yellowtail, slimy mackerel and squid. You could also try using live nippers, bloodworms, yellowtail, poddy mullet, small squid and garfish.

BAY BREAM

The other species that will have turned up in numbers by the beginning of Summer is the yellowfin bream. They will be travelling up from the Far South Coast, stopping off at various rock and beach possies to spawn.

Once the spawning is over the bream will venture into the bays and rivers to feed up before deciding whether to stay or move on.

When fishing for bream with bait in Botany Bay or Port Hacking I am a big believer that if there is no run in the water, then the bream are not in an active feeding mode.

I use a long rod like the Shakespeare Ugly Stik Gold 2.1-metre with a line rating of 2-4kg. The length of the rod enables me to have a leader of about 1.2 to 1.8 metres long. The correct sinker weight will be determined on the amount of run in the water. Somewhere between a No 2 to No 4 ball sinker should do the trick.

The sinker will anchor itself on the bottom and allow the bait to wave around in the current on the long leader. A small to medium threadline reel and 4kg line would be great to match with the rod.

Best baits are pink nippers, live bloodworms, strips of mullet, tuna, slimy mackerel, squid or garfish, pudding baits and those little spider crabs that are found under the rocks at low tide.

Salmon, tailor, kingfish and bonito will also increase in numbers and trolling or casting lures into feeding schools is the easiest way to pick up a feed.

When trolling many anglers fail to keep an eye on the tip of the rod to see if the lure has been fouled by weed or a stray plastic bag. Braided line comes into its own when trolling because you can see or feel every bump of the lure.

When using this type of line make sure that that you don’t have the drag set too hard. This may result in the lure being pulled out of the fish’s mouth when it strikes or if a big fish takes the lure, the line could break because of the lack of stretch in the line.

I prefer to use either Mann’s Stretch 5+ to 12+ minnows or Rapala CD 7s or CD 9s. The Mann’s are best trolled about five knots and the Rapalas are around seven to eight knots. Faster speeds will pull the lure out of the water.

Sometimes if the tailor are not taking the lures I will slow the speed down to about two or three knots.

Offshore over Summer the mahi mahi start to school up around anything that is floating on the water, so don’t let an opportunity go past. Have a cast at everything that you may go past. The wave-rider buoys would be a good place to start looking for the mahi mahi.

Anyone would like to come to one of my classes should phone me on0422 994 207.

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