I have a number of favourite fish that I target throughout the year – bream, kingfish, tailor, trevally, snapper, luderick, whiting, drummer, leatherjackets, tuna and flathead.
Some of these fish I chase because of their eating qualities and the others because of their fighting ability.
Many of you would have your own favourite species that you like to target and most likely many of you will favour flathead.
I would like you to think of when you find the best time to target them.
Maybe you think it’s best at the end of Spring when the water starts to warm. Maybe you prefer when the weather is warmer, or you don’t care when you go, as long as you are out chasing a few for a feed.
Many anglers I have talked to over the years rate flathead as a great table fish but they don’t rate them as great fighters.
These fishos are likely to catch flathead while drifting and say catching one is like pulling up a wet paper bag. This may be so if you are catching just legal fish and are using very heavy line and large sinkers.
The largest dusky flathead I have caught measured 98cm and was caught while I was targeting bream with 3kg line, a 1/0 hook and striped tuna for bait off the end of the Third Runway in Botany Bay. It was a very cold day in the middle of Winter.
Flathead can be caught year-round throughout Botany Bay, Port Hacking and the Georges and Woronora rivers using a variety of methods.
I have caught them while drifting, at anchor and from the shore using live bait, strips of fresh fish, whole dead fish, flies, hard-bodied lures and soft plastics.
My favourite method of chasing duskies would have to be soft plastics. Not only is it easy to do, it is a cleaner way of fishing and I almost always end up with one or two for the frying pan.
Where most anglers fall down with plastics is that they take bait along with them and will use the soft plastics for only a short while and then, after they haven’t caught anything for a while, give up on them.
To become successful at catching flathead on plastics or hardbodies, you need to keep using them. Leave the bait at home and persevere.
I know why many anglers think that the best time to target flathead is late Spring and well into Summer months. It’s because are usually more flathead concentrated around the lower sections of rivers, creeks and bays to spawn.
It’s also true that some anglers are lazy (I didn’t say all). They won’t get up to fish if the weather is cold, windy or wet. Don’t let conditions deter you from getting out and chasing a few flathead.
It it’s cold, rug up. If it is blowing, find a place out of the wind and if it is raining, put on some wet-weather gear. You might catch that flathead of a lifetime.Reads: 4762