I RECENTLY hit the South Coast and found some good fishing straight off the bank. Starting in the mouth of the Clyde I hit the shallow edges on the high tide targeting dusky flathead.
My family and I were able to rustle up eight flathead in under an hour with an average size between 35-45 centimetres – not huge, but great fun. And several of the legal sized ones went down really well on the BBQ the next day.
The best places were where the high tide submerged strips of sand between the bank and the weed beds. Sure flatties will sit on weed, and love broken rubble/reef too, but if there is nice soft sand…this is where they will move to lie on and hunt from.
And it doesn’t need to be a big patch of sand. Little strips of sand in the weeds the size of a cricket pitch running along the shore, or out into the deep will attract flathead.
This is even more bankable on a high tide, and especially at dawn/dusk and into the night.
Softies are good, but it is easier, more effective and more fun to use a shallow running long cast minnow. A minnow by nature keeps your line tighter even when it is windy, choppy or the tide is fast.
Best of all you can easily run them at the perfect depth, so that they miss the weed and snags, but are still deep enough to attract the flatties’ attention in this shallow water scenario.
One good example of a minnow that works is the 6 cm Rapala ultralight minnow.
It will dive down between 2-3 feet on the retrieve, but your rod can be held higher to make it run just under the surface where it’s super shallow. Or you can stop and let it sink deeper on the odd occasion needed.
Covering ground is the key, a cricket pitch sized strip of sand can be covered in half a dozen casts even when it is dark or the water is murky. If you get no interest, they are likely not there so walk to the next likely spot and repeat the process.
You can spot the best patches of sand when they are high and dry at low tide, or when the sun is higher in the sky and you can see into the water.
One flatty was hooked 20 meters from where I stood, I fought in to my feet and it got off. I re-cast and it ate the lure again – not uncommon. They are not the smartest fish in the sea, but you still have to understand where and how to score your share.
Other good spots include Durras, St Georges Basin and Wallaga just to name a few.
We also tried burlying up a few bream off the long jetty at the back of the Mariners Hotel right in town, but we couldn’t wait for the slack tide and gave up given the run was too fast.
I did however see a splash that was for all the world like a small whaler shark just as I was packing up.