Jack caught a 60cm flathead on a MMD Soft Prawn vibe.

Broadwater flathead haunts

Hi everyone, it’s been an amazing winter of fishing on the Gold Coast – let’s hope it continues. flathead

August is well known for its annual westerly wind and cool mornings.

Flathead and squid are two creatures I enjoy chasing for my charter customers during this month.

The best thing is, we don’t have to start too early in the morning to catch them.

Marc booked a Nerang River charter and caught a good number of flathead on Pontoon 21 Crackjack lures.


Flathead take time to warm up and feed as the sun rises, and arrow prefer visibility to hunt their food.

Dusky flathead are present all year-round, though their numbers definitely increase in cooler months.

However, they are susceptible to weather conditions.

Often a falling barometer can put them off the bite, as does water colder than 16C – more than most types of fish.

They also seem to be less active for a number of days after a full moon but when they do feed after a quiet period, they feed hard.

Matt caught his first flathead on a Z-Man 3” MinnowZ in Midnight Oil.


These are some of the best times to catch flathead on soft plastics and vibes.

Obviously, to catch heaps of flathead, you need to be fishing the right places – when you do, it’s not uncommon to catch over 50 fish in a day.

From this time of year and through to December, they are widespread in the Broadwater.

In my opinion, the best places to catch them are the edges of the sandbanks in the southern Broadwater – from Southport to the Sovereign Islands.

Basically, every island, including Curlew, Wave Break, Carters and Crab.

Pierre enjoyed catching many flathead on plastics.


Accessible by boat or kayak, the prime periods are the last two hours of a run-out tide and the first two of a run-in.

This is when the bait and fish are forced off the middle of the flats to the edges.

Then, as the tide rises again, the flathead are there on the edges, waiting to get back up on top of the banks to hunt for food.

Other places are the edges along shorelines – the best being Southport, Labrador and Runaway Bay – especially where there are weed patches meeting soft sand.

These areas are easily accessible by land-based anglers, though the trick is to keep moving until you catch fish.

I can almost guarantee that if I walked a few kilometres along these areas and cast soft plastic lures to the edges of the weed beds then slow-hop them, I will catch a number of flathead.

Z-Man 3” MinnowZ plastic rigged on 3/8oz 3/0 TT Fishing jig head tempted this nice flathead.


A great option in windy weather is to fish wherever the wind is at your back, to make casting easier and longer.

This can be at the land areas I mentioned or all along South Stradbroke Island.

People on my charters who camp there are amazed when I mention that they can catch flathead on lures right at their feet, where they set their tent up!

On one occasion, I even stopped with a couple who regularly camp there and demonstrated this to them.

Their first cast to a sandy strip between two weed patches resulted in a 56cm flathead only metres from the shore.

A great way to find good spots is by looking at satellite maps then finding weed edges that show up.

Then go there in person and have a cast.

You’ll soon remember spots where you catch flathead, and this species will frequent these spots repeatedly because they are good hunting grounds.

Flathead will lie next to the edge of weed beds to catch baitfish that hug the edges when travelling.

They will also wait in sandy holes and along sand drop-offs.

Zac with a decent flathead from a Broadwater charter with the author.


A few other tips to catch heaps of flathead include moving and casting in different places until you catch some, hop lures slowly with little twitches, pauses and slow winding in

between, and learn to feel the difference between catching lures on weed and flathead bites.

Weed feels ‘softer’ – pull the lure gently through until it’s on the sand again.

Flathead usually feels solid, like a snag – you’ll feel the bite through the braid too.

I prefer to pause and drop the rod tip for a few seconds, to let them engulf the plastic more, then strike hard once to set the hook.

The following are my favourites for flathead in winter.

Soft plastics:

  • Z-Man 3” MinnowZ in Opening Night and Midnight Oil colours
  • 6th Sense Divine 3.2” in Pro Shad and Ghost Ice Minnow colours
  • MMD Fat Skipper 80mm in Mullet and Pearl colours.

Favourite jig heads:

  • TT Big EyeZ 1/4oz and 3/8oz 3/0
  • TT DemonZ 1/4oz and 3/8oz 3/0.

Favourite scents:

  • Pro-Cure Inshore Salt Water and Bait Sauce Sardine/Pilchard.

Favourite reels:

  • Okuma ITX and Ceymar HD 2500.

Favourite rods:

  • 1/4oz and lighter lures – TT Fishing Black Mamba and Red Belly 2-4kg 7’
  • 3/8oz and heavier lures – TT Fishing Black Mamba and Red Belly 3-6kg 7’, Samaki Archer 701SM 6-12lb.

Braided line:

  • Platypus Pulse X8 10lb white
  • YGK X-Braid X8 Pentagram PE 0.6.

Flourocarbon leader:

  • 10lb for 1/4oz jig heads
  • 12lb for 3/8oz jig heads.

To book on a charter with myself or Brad, or if you have any fishing related questions, visit goldcoastrivercharters.com, SMS 0432 990 302 or email fishingwithclint@gmail.com – or find us on Facebook at Brad Smith Fishing Charters.

Catch you next month and tight lines!

About Clint Ansell

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