Flathead Special: John Didge’s Guide to Flatties on Jigs & Plastics

When I get asked to put together one these articles its usually for my less favorite species like snapper or salmon. I think that most fishermen will agree that we all have a favourite.

For me I think well I no for those who understand my eccentricities, my world is full of the humble Flathead, so in this piece of magical text I am going to have a crack at passing on some of the information, tips and techniques that I and my friends have picked up on the way as we travel to different fishing holes.
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The jig man John Didge with a Narooma 81cm flathead.

 

Godly Status

  I have heard the Flathead often spoken of with some sort of reverence in parts even to the level of godly status and other times just trashed as a rubbish species that will send some home, but if we are to really look in to the world of Flathead then we have a lot to thank the fish for, like those endless hours on the water chasing Snapper or Gummy Shark maybe nothing biting, feeling a little depressed and the thought of going home to the family or friends with no fish is worrying, then along comes the Flathead and things don’t look so bad now you have retained your status as anglers thank you Flathead.
Troy Eaton with a sensational flathead ... Keep reading this special feature and you can catch great fish like this!

Troy Eaton with a sensational flathead … Keep reading this special feature and you can catch great fish like this!

Options Galore

  What’s interesting about the flathead is the variety of different types and names they are known down South they are referred to as Chanel Rats or Frogs, see told you would learn something and as you move further around the coast towards NSW its just Dusky, the name that stirs the emotion in a flathead fisherman’s heart.
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Adam got this Frog at Mallacoota – an 88cm fish.

 

Home Waters

If I am to start any where its on my home turf, Geelong, on the banks of Corio Bay what is cool about the bay most don’t consider Corio Bay as a Flathead fishery they assume that its all about catching Snapper but when you realize how many Frogs you can get out of this place in a single session you may think twice. I am lucky enough to hit the water most days and on most accessions it’s to chase flathead. My mates and I fish plastics and nothing else and are rewarded constantly with good size Flatties from around 45cm up to 70cm on some days and at times the shear numbers are huge, day’s of getting 50 Flathead are common (we only keep 1 or 2 ).
Paul Mayer - this bloke has no shortage of big Fatties in his diary.

Paul Mayer – this bloke has no shortage of big Fatties in his diary.

Sand Flathead Secrets

  Down here most of the Flathead in our waters are Yank or Sand Flathead. These are an easy target if you have the right soft plastic on your jig head but there are some small techniques that will up your chances of catching more flathead. What I am about to tell you is what I call a rule of thumb especially if you are a first timer to the Soft Plastics for Flathead world, simple changes can at times make all the difference to you next trip. In a nutshell Flathead are a bottom feeder and on that you would think if your plastic or lure is not on or near the bottom you are not in the hunt.
The capture of a hard fought fish in less than 1 foot of water.

The capture of a hard fought fish in less than 1 foot of water.

Top Flattie Tip

  So tip number 1 on the bottom, when it comes to selecting the right Jig Head for the job then I would consider larger rather than smaller for example if the water is lets say calm with no flow and lets say 4 meters deep then you will be fine using a 3/16 or 1/4oz jig head but if the water has an amount of flow in it then time to up the weight lets say 3/8oz in my world I would probably stick to the 1/4oz but if your new to the game its about contacting the bottom and with a bit more experience you can start to do a little experimenting with different weights. To a degree I think that hook size is a little less relevant, for me I use a 3/0 Jig Man Hook but I have evolved over the years I remember when a 1/0 hook was big, it does come down to a personal choice, at this point I can only really say one thing and that is don’t buy those Chinese hooks that are all over online stores for next to nothing you do need sharp hooks so buy Aussie made.
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Adam Van De Lugt with a top quality 73cm flathead.

 

Next Week

As we move on I am going to talk some what on personal experience in that I mean about some of the places I have fished over the years and explain what we saw, what we did and the outcome of change. To start I want to say that when it comes to targeting big Flathead its important to remember that I am giving the knowledge of many fishermen – Team Jigman – some of the best anglers in the country. Even then situation will change and you will need to try something different, so don’t be afraid of change.

John Didge’s flathead special will continue next week on Kaydo

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John Didge

About John Didge

Owner and C.E.O of The Jigman John has had a passion for Soft plastics for the last 30 years and is widely renowned as one of the best in his field of Soft Plastics. But the passion really kicked in about 20 years back and In 1990 it basically become Johns only form of fishing, dedicating himself totally to fishing Soft plastics and nothing else. His reputation is as a big Flathead specialist travelling the coastline of Southern Australia in search of big Flathead and as Captain of Team Jigman along with Paul Mayer and Adam Van De Lugt The Jigman team is well known and it has sent fear into the minds of the Dusky Chasers (trash Talk). John Didge is also well respected in the fishing Media as host of the Geelong Fishing Show for the last 26 years but also on stage talking about fishing at Fishing expos and angling clubs (He never shuts up about Plastics Fishing). Second in the Media Classic during the 90’s at lake Mulwala, 6 time winner of the Conjola Flathead teams invitational (Dodgy little mates event), winner of the Mallacoota Reel it in Flathead Challenge in November 2013 and following it up next year with winning the Narooma Flathead Challenge in Feb 2014 and taking out Big Fish with an 81.5cm Flathead in Narooma Flathead Challenge in 2015.

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