Hodgey

Targetting Winter Flathead

29 posts in this topic

G'Day all,

I have received numerous PM's regarding chasing flathead in winter, so I thought I would knock up this post for those who are interested. My usual disclaimer applies; the following suggestions work in MY system but may not work in yours. For what it is worth:

1. Target water that is 10-15ft in depth, in the usual places you would normally try. (drop-offs, channels in front of rocky points, in front of weed beds, etc)

2. Try using scented lures (like Gulp), particularly in minnow or grub profile (I particularly like the grub profile, as the grub tail vibration seems to 'awaken' the interest of docile flatties). If you prefer to stick to your own 'tried and tested' plastics, then try smothering them in Mega Strike scent (or similar). You could even apply these scents to your Gulp, to ensure you maximise their effectiveness. If you normally use 5" plastics ... try down-sizing to 3" plastics with a curled tail.

3. Those of you who target flatties in the summer using a vigorous jigging technique (like me)? SLOW DOWN. Winter flatties seem to be less aggressive when taking a lure as opposed to the summer ones that inhale the bloody thing. MOST OF OUR FLATHEAD HAVE BEEN LIP-HOOKED! Two or three short jigs seem to be enough to encourage them to investigate.

4. The flathead are not giving the usual 'tick' indication you normally get in the belly of the line. Generally, they have grasped it in their mouth very subtly while you are winding up the slack from your previous 'jig'. You would normally have an inclination to set the hook when you feel the weight. I suggest you wait. I like to gently lift the tip of the rod to confirm the weight is still there, then apply pressure by using a slight flick of my wrist in conjunction with a reel wind. This should be enough to set the hook in the lip, without jerking it out.

There you have it folks. The recent success for Dene and myself has not come without considerable trial and error, and this is what I have come up with. Soft On (Cam) can attest to the aforementioned technique (and its effectiveness). I hope that you have found something of value in this post. If just one raider gains a benefit from trying these methods, or utilising a similar methodology, then I would consider this post successful. The best of luck to you out on the water, and I look forward to reading your successful reports!

Hodgey

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thanks for sharing your info on flattie hunting with sps. :thumbup: im sure they'll prove to be universal. judging by your posts lately.

hope to give them a try in a day or too.

thanks again :biggrin2:

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:074: First off was thinking - "As if You need Suggestions" THen realised I'd read it wrong! :074:

Great Info, Hodgey - the 'slow down' bit makes more sense, too, with the colder conditions.

Will give it a go next time I am in the lake :)

Many thanks

Cheerio

Roberta

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Good stuff Hodgey :thumbup:

Ive found in winter using 2in shads work for me and leaving them on the bottom for anything up to 15seconds after a short sharp hop The strong vibration in the tail gets them interested and they will come over and mouth the shad so on the next hop you will feel the weight of the flattie on the lure I generally target 10ft to 15ft deep flats This seems to work in bays more so than rivers

Edited by The Iceman

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Top post again Hodgey.

Agree 100% on the need to fish slow with winter flatties. I don't think it's any different down your way to the NSW north coast - the points you described are universal.

I haven't tried the curly tail/vibrating thing though. I was getting pretty good catches last year at Nambucca in June using drop shot minnows - I wonder what my catch rate would have been with a plastic with more action???

I'll give it a try in and around Sydney soon.

Thanks again, and keep them coming!

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Nice work there Hodgey.

Great read and very informative.

Maybe I should have kept a couple of PM's I wrote for people on blades.......woops!

Stuff like this is what makes Fishraider the most friendly fishing site on the net!

Keep it up mate.

Cheers

Greg

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What size lures do you normally use? are 5in gulp jerkshads to large?

I fish predominately with squidgies but have always used the method shown in the squidgy dvd's ie slow lift let it sink, pause, repeat. Not really any jerks at all. I use this in summer and winter alike. I found that i caught alot of flatties doing this over flats ie 1.2m deep or less but not really any where else. Do you recommend using quick jerks for squidgies as well?

Flathead are my favorite fish to catch!

Edited by dicko

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G'Day Dicko

I generally use plastics that are 3" or 4" in length. When using the larger lures I also use a slimmer profile, like a minnow, as opposed to a shad. I would certainly consider using 5" gulp shads in summer, but I feel they may not be as effective in winter. You will note above that The Iceman has downsized even further (to 2" shad) :1yikes: I get the feeling that you would have to use a large shad with a hell of a lot of finesse to encourage a seemigly docile flattie from its comfortable 'lie' this time of year. But in summer ?... hell yeah!

IMO, the method of retrieve is the key to continued success, and for me (in Summer particularly) it's all about a brisk,sharp jab. Why? I want my lure to settle into the bottom ... and then suddenly spring up in a flurry of sand, movement and water disturbance! Flathead seem to hunt relentlessly in summer, and will often strike at a vigorously worked lure on numerous occasions before the final hook up. This is definitely not the case down here in winter. In answer to your question ... yes, I would certainly work Squidgie Wrigglers (and fish) using the summer method described in the above paragraph. Squidgie Shads should be worked even harder! In winter?... I suggest smothering them in 'S' Factor and fishing them slowly.

You can see now why I wrote this post, Dicko. My winter technique is vastly different from my summer one. I have gone from a flurry of activity to a much more subtle one. I am still looking for movement/aggitation but on a much lower scale, and the lure is spending a lot longer lying inactive on the bottom. I hope this explanation helps you mate and hasten to add that nothing I can suggest in writing will be anywhere near as beneficial as time spent on the water trying different lures/retrieves etc.

Good luck Dicko, and keep us informed of your results!

Hodgey

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Thanks Hodgey, realy good info and there is a couple of interseting tips to apply.. Cheers...

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Yeah thanks thats awesome! When i used to fish mainly land based wading the flats I used to catch heaps of fish consistently, but since i have started fishing from the boat in deeper water my catch rates have dropped substantially. In summer I was concentrating on water about 30ft deep in various harbour areas where I know there are bigger flatties becasue i have caught them on livies, but only got a couple on lures...

Will have to target the shallower areas though for a bit, and I will also try some of my smaller squidgy fish and wrigglers as well as some gulp grubs... Thanks for the info it is invaluable!!!

On another note, has anybody had any success on deep water jigging plastics for flatties in the harbour over the warmer months?

Edited by dicko

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Great post Hodgey,

Slow and subtle wins the race... it's harder than it sounds but I'll nail it to my forehead next time I go out so I don't get tempted to start whipping my plastics all over the place, straight past all the sleepy Frogs.

Cheers, Slinky

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Just some added info the 2in shads I use have a fairly large body and are mainly used with a 1/4oz jighead

Favorite colour is black back with a clear body and silver fleck Great clear water colour

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Just one small problem - how do you consistently fish slow when you're working an area with strong tidal flow?

A couple of examples:

In St Georges Basin tidal flow drops off an I can fish as slow as I like but,

In Sussex Inlet, the tide can move me along pretty quick. If I let the placcie sit too long it gets swept around on the line and pivots out of the zone. I need to have it in close to the weed edge to nail the lizards - it's doing no good out in the middle of the sandy desert!

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Just one small problem - how do you consistently fish slow when you're working an area with strong tidal flow?

A couple of examples:

In St Georges Basin tidal flow drops off an I can fish as slow as I like but,

In Sussex Inlet, the tide can move me along pretty quick. If I let the placcie sit too long it gets swept around on the line and pivots out of the zone. I need to have it in close to the weed edge to nail the lizards - it's doing no good out in the middle of the sandy desert!

Stick with the basin for the SPs or only fish the inlet on a slack tide

Another method for the inlet is to try and dead drift your plastic along the weed edges Try a plastic with a tail that will work on a dead drift Wrigglers should do it

Edited by The Iceman

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Great post Hodgey and everyone else who has contributed. I hooked a couple of big flatties a week ago; lost one monster to a brand new SX40 and another 60+ fish (on a large squidgy) as I lowered my rod tip to pick up the net. Both fish took the lures tentatively and fought like wet socks (until pulling in next to my yak)

Do you think that I should be fishing deeper water of about 11-15' adjacent to the flats in a bay wher I get my summer flatties on a 4-8' dropoff? I was reading where flatties like to bask in sun warmed flats on a winters arvo but also that bigger models are caught in deeper water over winter....ideas??

Cheers, Rob

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G'Day Rob!

Mate, for what it is worth; we went for a cruise through the shallows last weekend and saw a lot of 'lies' in the shallows, including a couple of very good ones. We threw plastics along a 6-8ft drop off without a touch :mad3: Went back out to 15ft of water and started to nail them again :thumbup:

There is a little spot we have fished recently that is quite deep (I would hazard a guess at 30+ft?) We did manage to coax a couple of smaller models out of there, but the bigger models have come from the 15ft depth.

Most of our fish have been quite tentative on the initial take but they have given us absolute curry once they feel the hook! :074: They either want to dive to the bottom and stay there, or relocate to another postcode at a great rate :biggrin2:

Hope this helps Rob

Hodgey

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Thanks Hodgey,

Every bit of info like that goes into the database to help us become better fishos. Keep the great reports coming!

Cheers Rob

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About 3 weeks ago I fished the "Race" in Sydney harbour for a few solid models in the 60cm range. Jigged the 40-60ft mark with 4' minnows and the R2S Glassie Vibs and even got a few decent bream on them. At the start I was targeting bream on blades but 3 flatties in the 40-50cm mark and 2 lost blades from bite offs I changed to something a little larger.

There was alot more bait in the area than we normally see there on the day. Maybe that helped, never normally fish these sorts of depths inside the harbour for them......

Greg

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About 3 weeks ago I fished the "Race" in Sydney harbour for a few solid models in the 60cm range. Jigged the 40-60ft mark with 4' minnows and the R2S Glassie Vibs and even got a few decent bream on them. At the start I was targeting bream on blades but 3 flatties in the 40-50cm mark and 2 lost blades from bite offs I changed to something a little larger.

There was alot more bait in the area than we normally see there on the day. Maybe that helped, never normally fish these sorts of depths inside the harbour for them......

Greg

What type of weight do you use to fish those depths. And also when you are targeting flatties in that depth do you just lower the lure to the bottom and just bounce it as you drift over the area or do you cast and retrieve as normal?

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What type of weight do you use to fish those depths. And also when you are targeting flatties in that depth do you just lower the lure to the bottom and just bounce it as you drift over the area or do you cast and retrieve as normal?

Hi Dicko

On plastics there I fish a 1/8, 1/6th and 1/4 ounce.

Vibs are 9.5gm

Blades are 6gm

I cast as far as I can up current and work them back to the boat with a hop hop pause motion.

Cheers

Greg

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Great post Hodgey - thaks for sharing the tried and tested technique with the SPs. To date all of my flatty captures have been on bait - with the last couple of flatties caught on strips of left over steak (it was med-rare sirloin even the fish cant resist lol) from the BBQ. We had run out of live nippers as they were getting poached by small-mid sized whiting. Knowing the fish were there and the tide was nearly full we persisted with bbq leftovers and scored our only two flatties of the session, tasty with a bunch of whiting!

If only we had some Sp's on hand I reckon we would have caught more.

Cheers,

Andy

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Thanks for that greg, i might buy some blades and have a go with them, seeing as they are the new craze!

As for the next few months tho, i think that i will try the shallower waters as described by Hodgey. Hodgey, do you find any particular tide works best?

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G'Day all,

I have received numerous PM's regarding chasing flathead in winter, so I thought I would knock up this post for those who are interested. My usual disclaimer applies; the following suggestions work in MY system but may not work in yours. For what it is worth:

1. Target water that is 10-15ft in depth, in the usual places you would normally try. (drop-offs, channels in front of rocky points, in front of weed beds, etc)

2. Try using scented lures (like Gulp), particularly in minnow or grub profile (I particularly like the grub profile, as the grub tail vibration seems to 'awaken' the interest of docile flatties). If you prefer to stick to your own 'tried and tested' plastics, then try smothering them in Mega Strike scent (or similar). You could even apply these scents to your Gulp, to ensure you maximise their effectiveness. If you normally use 5" plastics ... try down-sizing to 3" plastics with a curled tail.

3. Those of you who target flatties in the summer using a vigorous jigging technique (like me)? SLOW DOWN. Winter flatties seem to be less aggressive when taking a lure as opposed to the summer ones that inhale the bloody thing. MOST OF OUR FLATHEAD HAVE BEEN LIP-HOOKED! Two or three short jigs seem to be enough to encourage them to investigate.

4. The flathead are not giving the usual 'tick' indication you normally get in the belly of the line. Generally, they have grasped it in their mouth very subtly while you are winding up the slack from your previous 'jig'. You would normally have an inclination to set the hook when you feel the weight. I suggest you wait. I like to gently lift the tip of the rod to confirm the weight is still there, then apply pressure by using a slight flick of my wrist in conjunction with a reel wind. This should be enough to set the hook in the lip, without jerking it out.

There you have it folks. The recent success for Dene and myself has not come without considerable trial and error, and this is what I have come up with. Soft On (Cam) can attest to the aforementioned technique (and its effectiveness). I hope that you have found something of value in this post. If just one raider gains a benefit from trying these methods, or utilising a similar methodology, then I would consider this post successful. The best of luck to you out on the water, and I look forward to reading your successful reports!

Hodgey

Hey giuys,

never fished blades before.

Whats the technique??

Cheers

Chris

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Thanks for the info on the flattys, I will use this when up at Avoca, fishing the estuary

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