The author has had plenty of flathead success using these one percenter tips.

Junior angler’s one percenter flathead tips

Flathead are a highly sought-after fish that eat basically anything vibrating or wiggling in front of them.

This makes using soft plastics a lively way of targeting them.

But it isn’t easy all the time, so here are some tips for fishing the tough bite and improving catch rates.

Gear for flathead

Generally, you want to find a rod and spin bait cast reel setup that has a balance of power and comfortability.

I like graphite rods due to the smooth buttery casts and lightness.

I find a 7’ rod between the 2-4kg and 2-5kg range, with a casting weight of 2-8gm or 2-14gm, is suitable for flathead of all sizes and any by-catch you come across.

A rod with a soft tip is a no brainer because it gives you the ability to detect the slightest bite, offers little resistance against hook set and is needed when constantly lifting the plastic off the bottom with the right action.

Reel sizes vary between 2000-3000, depending on the size of the fish and how big your lures are.

I fish Shimano’s Ci4+ material due to its smooth easy fast rotor and, being 48 percent lighter to turn, this helps start your lure retrieve faster, without needing to work to build speed as happens with lower quality reels.

I also carry a Stradic or a Sienna for a heavier option to throw larger lures and work them back correctly without stressing the reel internals.


Two good options for spooling your setup are eight-strand or four-strand braid.

Now, a lot of people think that because the four-strand is generally cheaper, it’s of a lesser quality and weaker, but it’s the opposite.

Four-strand allows for better abrasion resistance when fishing areas such as patchy rock, thick weed beds, pylons and such, whereas eight-strand comes off the reel and guides smoother because its thinner in diameter.

This aids the casting length, is better for facing a headwind and reaching channel or depth changes that are further away, if fishing land based for example.

When it comes to leader for flathead, I take 6, 8, 10 and up to 15lb with me.

I fish fluorocarbon as it’s a sinking material that helps get your plastic past the current and down to your desired water depth quicker.

Flathead are a highly sought-after fish that eat basically anything, which makes using soft plastics perfect for targeting them.

Flathead lures

When it comes to lure fishing for flathead, I have all the ranges and sometimes find it hard to decide what to pull out on the day.

So, here’s a guide that may help you to pick the right packet!

Dark or muddy stained water

Colours darker than the water colour give off a bold silhouette, making it easier for flathead to see.

Bright erratic colours can stand out too and cause a reaction bite if it’s a high fish activity day.

Grubs and paddle tails are your best bet, as they give off a more dominant vibration, matching the natural fleeing patterns of smaller baitfish and making it easier for the fish to find.

Clear water

A more natural baitfish colour, such as silver/white, works best because you have no murky water to help make the baitfish have a darker tint.

Vibrant colours can also stand out from the local bait that inhabits the area, making it more interesting and easier to see for the more curious flathead.

The subtle constant action of a grub tail is a lot more natural and matches that of the crustaceans and worms frequently inhabiting the lower reaches of the water column.

After rain periods

The smaller bait that are beginning their life further up the creek system are flushed down to near the river mouth, where all the nutrients and bait settle, having a bit cleaner water.

When fishing the river mouth, use the dark and erratic colours as outlined for dirty water, but try downsizing your lure.

You’re not necessarily downsizing your catches, though you are matching the bait that congregates around the river mouth and that the predatory species change their diet to.

Creature baits perfectly imitate the action, fleeing pattern and vibrations of stirred up bait.

The author uses fluorocarbon as it’s a sinking material that helps get the plastic past the current and down to the desired water depth quicker.


Another little one percenter is to add scent.

Scent not only improves the distance from which your lure is ‘seen’ due to the strong amino acids and crushed up bait, it makes it look more natural and realistic.

So, when fishing a tough bite for finicky fish, it’s a must-have in your tackle box.

I’ll reapply scent every 20-30 casts or after having caught a fish to ensure my lure is more noticeable to the fish.

Jig heads

Using a jig head really depends on the depth, headwind and current because remember, flathead are an ambush species and inhabit the lower reaches of the water column.

It’s hard to go past the TT Fishing chemically sharpened Gamakatsu and Mustad hooks for maximum penetration and to reduce how quickly the hook goes blunt.

I like to carry 1/12, 1/8, 1/6, 1/4 and 3/8 and hook sizes 1, 1/0, 2, 2/0, 3, 3/0 and sometimes 4 and 4/0.

Where flathead hide

This is the most important factor to flathead success, so here are my tips for the best places to look for when targeting flatties.

Generally, my favourite area – where I have most success – are shallow drains that run to sharp drop-offs or edges.

This provides an out-of-current spot for the bait to sit in on a running tide and around a slack tide – when the water movement slows up, all the nutrients settle along the edge.

Flathead will usually ambush their prey from the bottom of the drop-off, so hopping your lures over that depth change can be deadly.

As for most fish, you have to find the bait to find the predators.

So look for smaller more subtle snags, including weed beds and slowly drifting weed, that are commonly found near all creek entrances.

This provides plenty of nutrients for bait and in turn, flatties use it as a point of ambush.

Broken up shell and rubble also provide nutrients.

Found in most river systems, drop-offs, drains, shallow and deep sand flats and submerged timber are all quality places to fish for flatties.

Vibrant lure colours can stand out from the local bait that inhabits the area, making it more interesting and easier to see for the more curious flathead.

Lure retrieves

Another important one percenter is the retrieve.

You generally want to match the movements and fleeing pattern of your local bait, so a double hop will get the tail and feelers – that many new lures have implemented in them – vibrating.

The pause will return the plastic back to the bottom to look like a feeding baitfish.

Fish may not always respond to the same double hop or retrieve presented to them.

Try varying them – so changing the length of the pause, hops and speed of your retrieve – to see what the fish want on the day.

A slow or fast roll retrieve fished close to the bottom will stir up sand and mud, making it easier for the fish to locate in murkier water conditions or after rain, and then, as for the double hop, the pause will look like a feeding and vulnerable baitfish.

A different technique would be to cast into the current with a light jig head, give it plenty of time to fall naturally to the bottom and then double hop, only winding the slack in.

This will hop the lure into the current, where it will slowly get taken and naturally fall back to the bottom – in the process, cause commotion with the jig head bumping along the bottom.

I hope this bit of advice helps and that you get stuck into this style of fishing.

Tight lines and see you next time!

If you would like to support an up-and-coming Young Gun angler, check out Guy’s YouTube page gaffedbyguy and subscribe.

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