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Big Flathead, Shallow Water

Spring time is croc time!

As the winter chill fades, water temperatures in the estuaries are starting to climb. As a result, we should see a spark in activity from a number of species, one of which being the humble dusky flathead. At this time of year, flathead begin to congregate in the lower estuary in preparation for breeding through the summer months. Rock walls, deep channels and drop offs all hold their fair share of fish, but it’s in the shallows (5’ and under) where the best sporting opportunities lie!

As the tide rises, the fish push up onto sand flats and shallower mangrove edges, sometimes in water barely deep enough to cover their backs! They’ll station themselves here well into the run out tide ambushing careless baitfish, before eventually retreating to deeper water as the water drains away. This scenario presents the perfect opportunity to target (and sometimes sight cast to) XOS duskies.

Whilst smaller diving lures and soft plastics account for plenty of nice fish, if you want to lock horns with a trophy then you need to think big! Big murray cod style swimbaits and glide baits up to 200mm+ long are a popular choice, as are large surface stickbaits, particularly ‘bent minnow’ style profiles. Soft plastics also have their place, with large lightly weighted or even unweighted paddle tails and longer jerk shad profiles a real winner at times.

Not only do these big lures emulate the whiting and mullet that the bigger specimens are feeding on, they also have a real presence in the water. Simply put, they stand out like a sore thumb and the fish find them!

With spring knocking on the door, it’s time to gear up and start the hunt for that flathead of a lifetime!

An oversized dusky that engulfed a large swimbait after dark

Sunny conditions assist greatly with this form of fishing

The slow sink of the Westin Hypoteez Glidebait was the undoing of this better than average flathead

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