Mike with a solid 65cm giant trevally from the Tweed River.

Finesse fishing the flats

Hi everyone, May is when big numbers of arrow squid start to show up in the Gold Coast Broadwater as the waters cools and clears. Finesse fishing the flats

These tasty critters are usually caught on vibes and squid jigs and are found in sandy channels that have drop-offs. Finesse fishing the flats

This month however, I’ll talk about fishing the flats with hard-body and soft plastic lures, which is something I’m going to do a lot on charters over the cooler months.

nesse fishing the flats

Besides drifting the channels for winter species such as squid, flathead, flounder, tailor and winter whiting, we will also walk the flats for some exciting visual fishing. Finesse fishing the flats

Big summer whiting disperse from the flats from April, but more and bigger flathead appear.

Finesse fishing the flats
Alex with a good-sized mud crab caught in the Broadwater after the floods.

I have learnt from wading the flats with yabbies for monster sand whiting that big fish often feed in very shallow water.

Even though you can’t see them because they are so well camouflaged, they are often there and easily targeted on light line and small lures.

You will also get plenty of by-catch such as big bream, flounder and small to medium sand whiting.

The key to success in these areas is using finesse tackle.

I use 7’ 2-4lb rods and 2500-size reels spooled with either polyethylene 0.6 braid and 1m of 6lb fluorocarbon leader or with 4 or 6lb fluorocarbon.

You can use a wide variety of lures but remember you get more bites with smaller lures and can still tempt some big fish.

Finesse fishing the flats
The author caught this 42cm sand whiting while flats fishing.

Some of my current favourite lures are Pro Lure ST-72, Pontoon 21 Crackjack 48mm SP DR and Daiwa Pro Double Clutch 60mm and 75mm.

I love using suspending lures in the shallows because they hang in the strike zone when you pause your retrieve.

There are some easy techniques when it comes to fishing the flats, which can be done easily from a boat or kayak.

I prefer to walk the shallows while casting as it’s such a quiet and effective way to stalk wary fish.

The best time is a run-in tide when fishing on top of sand banks and a run-out when fishing off the edges.

I love fishing a run-in tide when the water is clear because you can watch the lure being smashed by an angry fish.

Good areas to fish are on top of yabby banks, the edges of weed beds, sand holes and bank edges.

Finesse fishing the flats
Dave caught this nice brassy trevally on a yabby.

From there, cast with the wind onto sandy areas, wind up the slack then mix up the retrieve.

You can retrieve the lure at a slow to medium speed, while twitching the rod tip to get the lure crashing into the sand and stirring up the bottom, then pause to suspend the lure slightly above the bottom.

Don’t get stuck casting in one spot, keep moving until you get multiple strikes.

You can also constantly walk and troll the lure over areas from 0.3-1m deep until you get a hit – this works very well on flathead.

Set it back about 20m and walk at a moderate pace.

Mix up casting hard-bodies with soft plastics.

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