For most Queenslanders winter time lure fishing is pretty average in the southern half of the state, don’t get me wrong , snapper, big longtails and the offshore bottom fishing can be pretty good, so can the bream fishing but for those who are limited for time and larger boats though it can be hard yakka! The one saving grace especially towards the end of winter, August/September time is the humble flathead.
The past 20 odd years has seen a big increase in lure fishing especially with the younger generation of fishers and the good old dusky flathead would almost definatly be the first fish ‘on a lure’ for many anglers in south east QLD. I know it was mine about 35 years ago!
This time of the year flathead are in spawning mode and tend to form loose schools of one or two larger females from 55-100cm that are usually surrounded by several active smaller males. Dusky flathead can be caught from Cape York right down to the southern end of NSW, they are possibly in the top 3 most sought after species with almost every angler fishing for them at least a few times every year, some almost exclusively.
Tackle required for catching flathead doesn’t need to be expensive, today I took my two kids flicking lures one used a 2500 certate on a black label rod and the other used a budget priced Daiwa aird 2000SH reel matched on a generation black pinster rod. Both outfits performed as expected with DAIWA tackle and caught there share of fish. One thing to remember with modern day tackle, cheaper budget priced reels perform like some top range gear used to only a few years ago so don’t be afraid to look at mid priced tackle, the quality of internal workmanship is great!
Lure choice depends on the location where you are fishing, if the fish are sitting shallow over rocky weed bottom there’s no use casting deep divers over it but if you are fishing a deep rockbar then a shallow runner is useless. Most of my flathead fishing in springtime is in water shallower than 1 meter deep generally over sandy bottom adjacent to mangrove roots or rocks. Flathead like some structure nearby to break current flows and as they are 100% ambush hunters to blend in there presence.
Dusky flathead are also a great table fish but remember this time of the year bigger female specimens are always in roe so practice release on larger ones and only take enough for immediate needs.