By Sami Omari
Flathead are one of those wonderful species that are readily accessible to most anglers and are quite aggressive, hitting baits or lures with gusto without being overly fussy. I often fish for Flathead in Sydney Harbour, especially when I have a few hours spare and decide to go for a fish at the last minute. Requiring minimal preparation and being reliable during the middle of the day makes flathead a convenient light tackle target in the busy waterways around Sydney
I enjoy fishing ultra-light tackle over the flats, sight casting to pockets of weed and kelp in the shallows. Most of my flathead fishing is in a few metres of water with an ideal location being a shallow sand flat that gradually deepens and is interspersed with weed and occasional rocky clusters.
The most productive time I’ve found is the last half hour of the run in and the first half of the run out tide. This usually gives a productive window of a few hours with the fishing generally slowing down quite markedly as the water runs off the flats.
Flathead are bottom dwellers and lie partially buried as they sit on the bottom and shake their bodies to sink down into the sand for added camouflage. Any lure that targets flathead must fish the bottom section of the water column. The most productive flats lures I have found are 3 and 4 inch soft plastic stick baits fished on 1/8 to 1/4 ounce jig heads.
My current favourite outfit is the Freams 2004/Generation Black Wild Weasel combo loaded with 6lb braid and terminated with a 10lb leader. It’s a fun, light outfit that can cast 1/4 jig head a mile whilst retaining ample stiffness for a solid hook-set and fish fighting ability. A similar outfit suited to 6 or 8lb braid and 1/4 ounce jig heads should suit.
I cast the lure out and let it sink to the bottom. Once on the bottom I’ll take up most of the slack and give the lure a couple of sharp jerks before allowing it to sink and repeating the process. You’ll generally get the bite as the lure sinks following the second flick of the rod but don’t be surprised if you go to flick your lure after it has settle and find that you’re onto a fish. They’re a sneaky fish the old flathead and will happily eat your lure then sit back on the bottom and wait for another meal!