Squidgie’s Guide To Flathead, Bream & Whiting

Last month I talked about targeting fish in new areas, places you have not previously fished. This month we focus on finding flathead, bream and jew fish and what baits or hard body lure or soft plastics to use. For me its hard body lures and rubber bands (soft plastics). Baits we will discuss are herring, beach worms, prawns, mullet, squid and blackfish gut or head and gut.

There are many more baits out there to use but we will just talk about these ones and so long as bait is presented right you should catch fish you just have to remember this is called fishing if it was called catching it would not be as much fun.  
Another top-quality flathead.

Even this angler’s dog is impressed with another top-quality flathead being boated.

When I am flathead fishing especially this time of the year in my area the bigger girls are moving to the deeper holes in the lower reaches of the rivers to breed. The best way to find the bigger fish is by drifting with either bait or soft plastics. Once you catch a fish around 40cm or 50cm try and mark to spot and do the drift again if you land another one you might be onto a heap of males and this means more than likely a big female being in close vicinity.

Ganging Up

For bait fishers if drifting I would use white pillies or prawns for the white pillies use two gang Mustard 4200D size 1. Sometimes you can buy them in the tackle stores but is much cheaper if you make your own for prawns.

Getting To The Point

I just use a chemically sharpen long shank hook to suit prawns just remember thread hook through tail bring point out at head and tie a loop knot on tail to keep prawn straight this set up will help you find the fish. Once you have found schooled fish then you can use live bait to entice the big girl to bite I use live poddy mullet or live herring.

Livie Tips

Sometimes herring can be a problem as big bream love them and they attack the herrings head killing your hard earned bait and yep totally peed of fisher. Most times the bream don’t return to finish the job. With live baits be it jew or flathead I am fishing for I like to pin hook through livies mouth or nose using a Gamakatsu live bait hook or a Gama circle hook size depends on bait, if fish say around bridges in deep holes I like to use a sort of paternoster rig.

Go The Paternoster

This utilises a three-way swivel with one meter of mono 10lb line for my size 10 ball sinker to hang from bottom then I have for my live bait 1.5 mtrs 20lb line tired off on middle eyelet of swivel then my main line be it hand line or rod but must be around 20lb in strength. This set up lets your live bait swim but sending out distress singles so big fish can home in.  
A monster flattie caught off the bank ... a sensational fish by an standards!

A monster flattie caught off the bank … a sensational fish by anyone’s standards!

Adding a Float

I also like to add a big bubble float to the top so say your sinker is at 8mts you set your float at 9mtrs this way you can fish plastics or bait on another line. While you are waiting on big girl to take your live bait your float is a warning sign if it starts to bob heaps you know your live bait is attracting attention I have caught many of big flathead and jew with this rig.

Plastics Tips

With soft plastics I use Squidgy Fish 100mm or 130mm Drop Bear, Black and Gold or Silver Fox sometimes Killer Tomato will brain them in dirty water also the 4” Atomic Prong with its 14 moving parts works a treat. Colour – I will leave up to you but all work for me also Atomic Plazos 4″ Shad – Carolina Pumpkin Disco, Plazos 4″ Shad – Grey Ghost all these soft plastics I run with either a 1/4 or a 3/8 jig head and they need to be worked very slowly so just wrist is all you need to move no need for ripping like we do for smaller fish. The big girls in my area like the lure worked slow you. You will also catch jew using the same tactics as jew hang in same deep holes as flathead.
You never know wheat you might pull out of a good snag when fishing for flathead.

You never know wheat you might pull out of a good snag when fishing for flathead.

 

A Bunch Of Worms

With jew fish we use the same plastics with the same jig head size but bait beach worms and normally I would use two or three worms first one I like to thread up my hook then as far up as it will go up my leader. With the next one I like to bunch it a bit and have a fair bit hanging from hook with juices of worm floating about trying to entice fish. Squid is another great river bait and California squid is best for river situations.

Headland Options

If I was fishing headlands or rock walls fishing into the sea side I would use locally caught squid if I could get my hands on it. Live herring and live poddy mullet are another great bait for jew I also use blackfish heads with gut attached being a blackfisher I can get all the bait I need for a session on jew just need big 7/0 or 8/0 hook for heads.

Big Jew Off The Rocks

Fishing for jew from the walls or headlands most guys will use Halco 190 in red and white or feathers also red and white just cast out and slow retrieve just remember that there are cungi boy and other traps as you get near to walls so high stick rod to stop lure losses another plastic that is used a lot is Gulp 6” Grubs in New Penny or Pink Shine 1oz jig head.

Fish The Suds

Cast out into suds then slow wind in this lure has caught me and other fishers plenty of jew. Big bream sometimes can be a bitch to find but if you are bank fishing walls and headlands would be your best bet with most wash areas holding fish you just have to fish as light as you can sinker wise but you will need at least 15lb line or better.
This bream was spun up while casting plastics for flathead.

This bream was spun up while casting a deep div lure past the rock bar.

Brutes Of The Estuary

These fish can be brutal they fight dirty cungi boy is brilliant for headlands I like to gather my bait then put in ice cream container leave in sun for a day or two (yep bloody smelly) best bait you can get for nothing bream and drummer love it another great baits are herring fillet and garfish bream just can’t resist these baits For river and in my boat I try and find small reefs these seem to produce bigger fish than walls sometimes and when bait fishing blackfish gut or mullet gut most times will out fish most other baits.

Plenty Of Options

Try chook gut as well soft plastic I use Gulp 2” Pepper Prawn or 3” Minnow or 2” or 3” Atomic Prong colour up to you once again but with 14 moving parts you can’t go wrong just remember work the plastic slow as bream are very curious and want to look at a bait before they attack so what I do is cast out wrist a few hopes then count to twenty then wrist it again just keep doing it till you are back to the boat slow and I mean slow the jig heads I use.
I like 1/8 but lighter the better you want your lure in the strike zone as long as possible, blades are another great lure but that subject I’ll talk about next month.
Squidgie

About Gary Palmer

My name's Gary Palmer, I live on the North Coast of NSW and most fishers up this way know me simply as Squidgie. I have been fish since I was a kid growing up down the South Coast of NSW and cut my teeth on bream and flathead in Lake Illawarra. I've been living up here for over 30 years and have not used bait for many years. Soft plastics and hard body lures are my drug - well they say once you use these rubber bands it's welcome to the dark side. I write for fishing mags and had my own radio show on fishing for a long time until I became ill and couldn’t continue, but still do small reports on radio. I love bass and estuary perch fishing but bream and flathead are still up there for me. I also love blackfish don’t think there is anything better than watching a float go down with fish on. I am a river rat I love fishing rivers but I do fish beaches and occasionally go out in the deep blue.

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