HOPEFULLY things are starting to get a little back to normal, or as everyone else likes to say ‘a new kind of normal’, after COVID-19.
Species that have been in supply include school mackerel which have been in reasonable numbers, and plenty of squire (pre-closure) as well as our usual flathead, with a few trevally mixed in. So, as well as fishing flathead, there are definitely a variety of species to target and these will also be around in the coming months.
I’ve been out on a couple of charters and some tuition but mainly I’ve been fishing with my son, and getting a fish in with my brother and father which is something we haven’t done for many years. It’s been a bit tricky lately to line up charter work with the weather windows because the weather has been a little up-and-down over the past month, but hopefully it will start to settle through July and August.
With all of the species around, casting lures has been working quite well but I have found on the tougher days trolling hard-bodies for these fish has been one way to basically wake them up a bit, and this technique has accounted for a lot of better quality fish. As I’ve said before, I don’t always troll and I don’t always I like to, but trolling hard-bodies has definitely been a stand out on recent fishing trips.
The bulk of mackerel and squire we’ve been catching (pre-closure) have come from trolling hard-body lures in water around 8-10m, because these fish have been close to the bottom in that depth, getting your hard-body down deep has been essential. The other key thing I’ve been looking for before I troll is plenty of baitfish – you want plenty of baitfish around so that when predators are chasing schools you can drag your lure through.flathead fishing
Remember, squire (pre-closure) and mackerel are way down the southern end of the bay and they should be around for the next few months, so for fishers who think mackerel season is over – yes, it may have slowed down in the northern bay, but this year we had nice clean water and a heap of baitfish down the southern end which means we should have mackerel for a few months yet.
There have certainly been plenty of flathead around and while trawling for flatties you may run into a few trevally in the shallows as well, which is always great fun. If the water is nice and clean up against the mangroves, don’t be afraid to use gold colours and maybe something a little brighter, but if the water dirties up again go back to your darker colours.
Also don’t be afraid to try different types of lures because sometimes they want a smaller lure with a more aggressive action such as a Zerek bulldog crank, and then other times they want the Zerek tango shads, with their thinner profile and tighter action. At other times they want something in between and that’s when I find the little Wilson fish art lure works quite well.
That leads me to a nice flathead session I had with my boy Maxy, my dad and my brother Tony. As I said, we haven’t fished together for years because my dad‘s health hasn’t been great for a while, so we didn’t think we were even going to have another fish with him, but we were really lucky and the stars aligned, including the weather and the right-sized tide for us to head out and target a few flatties down the Broadwater.flathead fishing
So, I met them down at Jacobs Well a couple of hours before the bottom of the tide and we headed out to chase a few flathead. Now, my brother doesn’t use lures very often because he likes his bait, but we were going to change that, so we headed to do a couple of drains and as the tide was falling away we put a few casts in, and believe me it didn’t take long and my brother had a nice 49cm flatty in the boat. One of his first ever fish on a soft plastic.
This is where things got a little interesting because my father piped up and challenged my young boy Max with a $20 bet to see who could catch the biggest flathead out of the two of them. The pressure was on, and we put a few more casts in the same area but no luck, so we moved to another location.
We started trolling hard-bodies and it didn’t take long before young Maxy had a flathead in the boat – he gave it a measure and it was exactly 49cm. We put the lures back in the water and kept trolling. The next to hook-up was my brother with another nice fish around the 48cm mark, then Max caught another one. Most fish were around 45-48cm, and over the next hour I caught a couple, dad scored a couple and we had a great time. flathead fishing
Tony and Maxy were catching more fish than Dad and I by using Tango Shads. This lure was definitely the standout, with my brother and Max catching at least twice as many fish as Dad and I. While not big fish, we found plenty of them and had lots of fun. All good things must come to an end, so we pulled up on a beach to have a sandwich, chat and clean the few fish we kept for a feed.
Young Maxy won the bet with the longest fish, so the old boy had to hand over a $20 and Maxy was pretty happy. We all had a great time and will do it again sometime. An advantage of not going to work all the time is we can get out and enjoy days like this. And after that little session we may have turned another bait fisher over to the dark side of lures.
As we all know with our busy jobs and lives, we are time poor, so if you can learn more to optimise your time on the water, then why not? Remember: knowledge is the key. If you’re interested in any off or on-water tuition classes or you just want to do a charter, don’t be afraid to give me a call on 0432 386 307 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org flathead fishing
You can also check out the Sean Conlon’s Fishing Charters and Tuition Facebook page. Until next time…