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Posted 02th September 2022

How to Fish Reef Flats

How to Fish Reef Flats
How to Fish Reef Flats

By Will and Mary

Fishing the reef flats is most definitely our favourite form of fishing. Executing a calculated cast then watching the fish cruise over and haunt the lure down is the pinnacle of fishing for us !

Finding Ground

We push the limits and travel as far out wide to fish untouched ground as the weather permits us.

Like any good trip, planning is crucial. Our three key tips for success are: 

  1. Plan the trip - This consists of having good charts and studying maps before we make the trip and remember to always check your green zones because it’s easy to get caught up in the day.
  2. Current – NO RUN, NO FUN… water movement is key, make sure the areas you wish to fish are on the correct side of the reef related to the current movement - incoming tides (North to South) / outgoing tides (South to North).
  3. Bait – The last but most important thing we look for is BAIT. If you find bait the predators will not be far away, especially if you can find a current line with showering bait it generally means they are nervous or being harassed by big fish.

Stealth is the Key

Like any form of fishing, we can’t stress enough how important being stealthy is. Checking the wind, current and setting up your drift lines are extremely important. We use the electric motor to correct our drift line when necessary, but always keep the noise levels to a minimum when possible. We make long (wind assisted) casts and often this approach gives us the best chance of hooking timid fish before they hear or see us.


Our tackle consists of 2 different outfits each (light and heavy)

Mary Anne is currently running the Salist MQ8000 and MQ10000 spooled with 50lb J-braid and paired with Salist Hyper PE2-4 rods. We love these rods, they are literally unbreakable landing 35kg GT on a couple of occasions now no problems at all!

Will is running the Saltist MQ14000 spooled with 65Lb J-braid paired with another Hyper PE2-4, but opts for the heavier Saltiga14000 spooled with 80lb J-braid and the Spartan PE8 S80-5/8 in between fish. Fishing heavy all day can be exhausting so having the lighter tackle option is definitely great


Fishing the flats is mostly visual and 90% of the time we are throwing either surface poppers or stick baits (Spartan Power Splash 140 & Saltiga Dive Star 220) keeping the lures high in the water colum. We also like throwing the Daiwa Bait Junkie 7 inch jerk shads as a deeper option around blue hole bommies which can work a real treat on coral trout and red throat emperor

Take Care

Heading out far and wide is extremely fun and rewarding but please make sure you always take care out there. The charts don’t always highlight the bommies and at low tide it can be super dangerous navigating around reef systems and please keep your safety gear up to date.


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