Target focus flathead
Neil did a Jumpinpin charter with the author and we caught heaps of flathead on Samaki vibes and Ecogear plastics.

Target focus on flathead

Target focus flathead
Nat with a 55cm Nerang River flathead caught on Ecogear Marukyu Isome Sandworm.

Hi everyone, isn’t the warmer weather enjoyable? Though my guess is that it won’t be long before we’re complaining it’s too hot! November is a good month on the Gold Coast for fishing in our estuaries for big flathead, large whiting and massive jewfish and it’s the start of huge mangrove jack running, as well as blue swimmer and mud crabs. The two fish I’ll be concentrating on targeting most are flathead and whiting. Target focus flathead

This is the last month flathead really fire before they focus on breeding more and feeding less during their summer multiple spawning events. They also get more sluggish and less active as the water gets hotter. I fished the Flathead Classic for the first time this year and what a valuable lesson it was. Warric and I were lucky enough to place second overall in the two-angler team division, with Warric finishing in third place for the senior anglers. Target focus flathead

We caught about 86 flathead over three days and most of the fish fell for Ecogear Balt 3.5” soft plastics, with the remainder on Samaki vibes, hard-bodies and other soft plastics. The lesson was ‘don’t forget techniques that have worked well in the past’, and for me that was using soft plastics for flathead in shallow water. On our charters, Brad and I do very well drifting and jigging vibe lures. Target focus flathead

Target focus flathead
Bruno with a big blue swimmer crab from the Gold Coast Broadwater.

It’s a technique that has caught a lot of fish for us over the years and will continue to do so. We still use plastics at times but to some extent they have become old news – similar to the novelty of other favourite lures that has worn off over time. They still work as well as ever, but they just become outdated. I have recently started to use plastics again, specifically for flathead, and it’s been so refreshing to rediscover the good old times.

There is now a massive range of these lures to choose from, and some of my current favourites are the Ecogear Balt, as well as the Fish Arrow Flash-J Shad, Westin ShadTeez, Daiwa Bait Junkie and Samaki Boom Baits. A 3-4” plastic rigged on a 1/4 or 3/8oz 3/0 hook jig head is all you need for flathead. Use a 3-5kg 7’ soft plastic rod with a fast tip to impart enough action to work the lures. Couple the rod with a 2500 size reel spooled with 12lb braid line and tie on 1m of fluorocarbon leader. You can use anything from a 10 up to a 20lb leader, depending on the size of flathead you are encountering and how fickle they are.

The technique for using soft plastics is very simple. The biggest key to success is moving until you find actively feeding fish. There isn’t much point in repeatedly casting in the same spot if you’re not getting hits – flathead are an aggressive ambush predator that will strike at almost anything that moves when they’re on the chew. Stop at a possible area – which usually includes one or a combination of creek drains, weed beds, sandy contours and solid structure, usually in depths of 0.5-2m.


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

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