Rebecca’s 67cm flathead was captured casting soft plastics in the shallows at low tide.

Fixated on flathead in snapper closure

WELL, another month has passed and, with the tricky weather and the forecast all over the place, it’s definitely been difficult to plan trips. Let’s hope by the time this issue comes out the weather has settled into a nice winter pattern. With the snapper ban on, most of my charters have been focussed on chasing flathead because there’s a fair few of them around at this time of year, and if my customers want to take home a feed they can. Fixated flathead

We have been adopting a few different techniques and all of them have been catching fish. The reasons for mixing up the methods to target these fish are because flathead will be in the shallows or sitting a little deeper on drop-offs – depending on the weather – and to not take too many fish from the one area. Trying alternatives means more options and more options should equate to catching more fish.Fixated flathead

So, what choices do we have? Well, when we have the right sized high tide to allow fishing up against the mangrove lines, we should have techniques such as casting lightly weighted soft plastics close to the mangroves and retrieving them back to the boat. With many of these types of retrieves, I do lean towards the 4” paddle tails to get maximum vibration out of the lure for waking up lazy flathead that hang around the mangrove lines.Fixated flathead

Another good method is slow rolling hard-bodies cast towards the mangroves. With both techniques – soft plastics or rolling hard-bodies – I prefer to give the lures a bit of movement then a long pause and repeat that retrieve all the way to the boat. When using hard-bodies in this way, I choose to use a suspending lure so it stays down in the strike zone longer. Another option we have is to get a couple of little hard-bodies and troll up and down the mangrove line, especially if the fish are a bit hard to get.Fixated flathead

This is one way you can create a lot of vibration and action from the lure to wake up a few of those fish if they’re not playing the game. There are three good options for targeting fish around the mangrove line on a high tide. Targeting flathead in the middle of a tide can be a little bit trickier. I would usually target a few squire or snapper in the middle of a tide but due to the closure at this time of the year, I’ll chase a few flathead for my customers.Fixated flathead

There are a couple of techniques that work for the middle of a tide and what we’re looking for are those fish that don’t push up onto the flats on a high tide or as a tide is dropping – they get off the flats early and sit close to big mud banks, but more in the drop-offs in around 2-3m. So, look for that contour and cast soft plastics slightly bigger jig heads into this slightly deeper water. Soft vibes and metal vibes work really well in this situation, and paddle tail and curl grub style lures also work quite well.

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If you’re interested in any off or on-water tuition classes or you want to do a fishing charter, give me a call on 0432 386 307 or send me an email at seanconlonsfishing@hotmail.com Fixated flathead

You can also check out the Seano’s Inshore Fishing Charters and Tuition Facebook page.

Until next month, stay safe on the water.

Click here for another story about flathead by Sean.

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