Flatties and whiting stir
  |  First Published: August 2009

Spring is a great time to be out on the water, especially for whiting and flathead.

I am hoping that towards the end of the month, flathead will be in numbers at our favourite spots and I’m looking forward to using a few of the new hard-bodied lures that have come on the market recently.

Well, they aren’t too new, but I haven’t had a chance to use them over the past few months so I have been stockpiling them ready for when I can get out.

Some of the new Instinct lures will be high on my list, as will the Berkley Soft Vibes.

I have also been busy building rods for the coming season, so I am more than a bit excited about the prospects of a feed of my favourite lake fish, whiting and flathead.

For those keen on flathead, try down south around Myuna Bay and Pulbah Island. Coil Point and Wangi will also have fish, as will the channel.

Among the effective lures to use will be Gulp 5” and even 7” Jerk Shads with the appropriate jig hook size and head weight for the water and lure you’re using.

You can have all the fancy gear in the world but if you are using a lure with an incorrect-sized jig head, then you may as well be fishing in a desert.

Say, for instance, you decide to drift in the channel and there is a bit of current and your drift is a bit quick. There is no point trying to use, say, a 1/8oz jig head because the lure won’t reach the bottom where the fish are (not for very long, anyway).

You want to have your lure down in the area where there are fish for as long as possible to give you a chance of enticing them to take your lure.  

You should also cast your lure in front of the drift path; there is no point casting behind you because the boat will have startled all the fish in its path and there will also be drag on your lure as you drift.

Whiting should be showing up now around the sand islands, Swan Bay and the channel.

Best baits are blood and tube worms and live prawns, and even peeled school prawns if you can’t catch the fresh prawns the night before.

For those who prefer lures, the Gulp Shrimp 2” in banana prawn colour and the 2” Sandworms would be worth trying, or even any of the smaller blade lures.

The water could be warm enough around the shallows to start throwing a few poppers or walking topwaters like the Lucky Craft Sammy 65 and Bassday Sugapen.

If the whiting aren’t responding to the surface lures, then try a deep-ish diver in the shallows.

Rip it down into the sand and let the lure stir up the bottom. After a few seconds, let the lure rise up a bit and then try again.

Any whiting in the area will come and investigate looking for an easy feed, and once your lure moves off again, there is a good likelihood of them attacking your lure.

Luke and Chriso at our shop used this technique last season with great results.

Even I had some unintentional success with Chris ‘Macca’ when we were going for flathead in the deeper water.

We would hook up for a good 10 to 20 seconds before the fish would be gone and there was not a mark left on the lure. This went on for about 20 minutes or so before Macca said he thought they were big whiting.

I thought he was nuts, but we decided to rip the lures back to the boat a lot faster and, sure enough, we were getting solid hook-ups under the boat on good-sized whiting.

They would obviously chase the lure up from even 6m down and the best we managed was a 43cm ‘horse’. Believe it or not, catching whiting this way became a regular event on our outings.

It just goes to show that if you are prepared to try different things, you could be pleasantly surprised.


Bream could be just about anywhere in the lake. I would try down the southern end around Myuna Bay and areas close by.

Night is best for bait anglers, especially in the shallows.

If lures are your thing, the channel, sand islands, Salts Bay and any area in the lake that has structure would be worth a try. If the water temperature is on the rise, then you could be in luck.

Other fish in the lake worth trying for are tailor, squire and jewfish.

There will be a few tailor about but you will have more luck trolling for them with deep-divers, rather than soaking a bait. Bait will still work, but you will be covering more ground looking for them if you are trolling.

The Drop-over, Wangi, Coil Point and down on the southern side of Pulbah Island are noted tailor spots.

Squire can be found at the Drop-over and towards Coil Point and Wangi. Green Point has also been known to hold a few fish on the cockle beds there.

Squid is a great bait and 5” and 7” Gulp Jerk Shads are the go-to lures.

Jewies are best targeted at night, with prime spots well-guarded secrets, but you could try the Trench at Valentine and Wangi. Jewies have even been known to hang around the Drop-over hunting the chopper tailor that frequent the area.

The beaches should have plenty of salmon with some tailor. The gutters will have bream, whiting and flathead also but things might be still a bit quiet yet.

You are probably better trying off the rocks at Catherine Hill Bay for drummer, tailor and kingies.

Fresh whole squid should bring some kingies undone at this time of year although some anglers are having success with poppers. This mainly works at Swansea bridge, but even off the rocks it can be fruitful.  

If you are in a boat, in close around Catho could be worth trying as  there could be a few reds about as well as some solid morwong.

Redhead will also have reds. Trevally should also be in abundance with Hawkesbury River prawns the bait of choice here. If you berley well and use light line, you should be rewarded.

If the weather is right and you want to try offshore, yellowfin and albacore tuna are worth having a go for.

It was this time last year that yellowfin to 25kg and more were encountered. out on the 250 and 350 fathom lines.

With the number of boats reported to have seen marlin on the continental shelf during August, there could also be a good chance of hooking up to one.

Overall, September is a great time to be out on the lake and soon enough with the weather warming up, fish will be looking for a feed.

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