3Ts – Flathead Basics

If you sat down to design the perfect sand dwelling piscatorial predator, you’d probably come up with something very similar to the flathead.

Sleek Hunters

Another flathead that took a liking to a presented soft plastic.

Another flathead that took a liking to a presented soft plastic.

Low and sleek in shape, the ability to change colour to match its surroundings, combined with a blinding turn of speed from a standing start, there’s little to improve on. Flathead are a bottom dwelling sight feeder, therefore your bait or lure must be on the bottom and moving.

Known Haunts

They also love to lay up against something so if you’re drifting or walking sand flats and you see a log, patchy seagrass or rocky area or some structure in the water, pepper it with casts because that’s where the flathead will be lying. Their primary diet is baitfish including whitebait, hardiheads, small pilchards. Bait anglers need to rig so their bait is on the bottom, looks and swims naturally to entice a strike. Lure anglers need a hardbody lure or a jig that hits bottom, a meter off is not good enough. In clear water the fish will see the lure coming from a long way off, therefore natural coloured lures imitating a baitfish usually fair better.

Strike Zone

In dirty water, the strike zone is much shorter, dark colours or lures with more contrast stand out better. Anglers trolling can increase your catches in dirty tidal waters by towing against the tide, slowing the lure which will keep it in the strike zone longer. The minute a hooked flathead sees the boat it will take its strongest run diving away and towards the bottom.

Net Facts

Trying to net them before that final dive almost always ends up with an empty net. If you predict that last dive and let it happen, don’t tighten your drag or thumb your reel, don’t swipe at it with the net, you will usually get the fish back to the boat for round two or round three when you can swim it into the net easily. Robley flathead 05

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