Flatties at their best
  |  First Published: August 2005

From August through to September each year, flathead migrate down to the lower reaches of the rivers and bays to spawn. With the advent of the 40-70cm size limit and five fish per person bag limit, flathead numbers have increased steadily. Their aggressive nature, excellent eating qualities and abundance make them a popular target year round, however, it’s at this time of year that flatties are at their best.

Try drifting around the edge of sandflats and weedbeds where there are good drop-offs into deeper water on the falling tide. On the rising tide, flathead can be found scattered over the shallows adjacent to the deep water. Top baits to use are smaller pilchards on ganged hooks and hardiheads or whitebait rigged on wide gape hooks.

Flathead are an ambush predator that lies waiting in the sand for prey to pass close by; because of this trait they are suckers for lures of all kinds. If you want to get into lure fishing, particularly with soft plastics, flathead are a great target. Some good lures to try include Ecogear Grass Minnows, Slider Grubs, Storm Wildeye Shads and the new Twitch’n Nippers. Some days the natural colours work best while on others, the brightest fluoros will get all the action.

Jigheads such as the Nitro 1/6oz on 2/0 hooks are great for the shallow water while the heavier 3/8oz models are excellent in deeper spots and in fast current flow. A simple lift of the rod, then a pause to let the lure hit the bottom is all that is required in the retrieve. The key really is to keep the lure slowly bouncing across the bottom, right on the nose of the fish. Casting up into shallow water and retrieving over the drop-offs into deeper water is a sure fire way to entice a big lizard into striking your lure.

August is also a good time to target tailor in the southern bay area. Locations such as Snipe, Goat and Lamb islands and the channels around the Pelican Banks are top spots for boaties, while jetties at Victoria Pt, Redland Bay, Wellington Pt, Amity Pt and the entrance to Raby Bay are all good land-based spots.

Fishing a rising tide in the evening with gang-hooked pilchards or gar as bait is a great way to go for the regular run of fish, while a big bait of bonito fillet is excellent for pulling out the bigger greenbacks. During the day, look for birds hovering over schools of tailor on the surface. Metal lures such as Raiders and Silver Streaks retrieved at high speed are heaps of fun, and popper lures like Pop Queens and Sugoi Splash IIs can draw savage strikes when blooped across the surface. Throwing big (12cm plus) poppers is again a good way to pull out the larger fish from a school of choppers.

At this time of the year you can also chase include winter whiting around the Pelican Banks, Banana Banks, Wellington Pt and Pt Halloran with worms, peeled prawns and thin strips of squid being the best baits.

Yellowtail kingfish are hanging around channel markers all through the bay, the jetties at Dunwich and the wrecks up the inside of Moreton. They love a live yakka or pike and can also be tempted with plastics, surface poppers and a variety of flies.

Until next month, tight lines. For more information on the southern Moreton Bay area, come and see me at Fish Head (Cnr Broadwater Tce and Stradbroke St, Redland Bay) or call me on (07) 3206 7999.

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