G'day, my name is Rick.
I was over in the fishing reports section and saw a post by jasondanielgraham. He asked for plastic fishing techniques to use on Flathead. He didn't get an answer, so I thought I'd share a few things I've learnt over the years. Flathead on plastics is the only way I seem to consistantly catch a feed, so here goes.
Starlo once said if you can't catch flathead on plastics, you should take up bowling.....Flathead are one of the easiest fish to catch. They LOVE plastics. If you don't often come home with a feed, it's a smart move to target Flathead on Plastics.
I fished out of my boat for 5 years before I learnt to come home with a feed. Plastics were new to me, and if ever I tried them, I'd soon give up and go back to my old bait habbits that didn't catch fish anyway. One day I forgot to bring the bait, so all I had was plastics. That day, my wife and I persisted with them until she started catching flathead. Once we figured out how she was doing it, we never looked back. We've been consistantly catching flathead for about 7 years now. That's all I know how to catch.
If you want to catch flathead with plastics, leave other types of bait at home. You'll have to persist with plastics.
I use 6 or 8 lb fireline, with a rod length of 12 lb flouro carbon leader.
I have most success with bloodworn 70mm squidgie flick baits and 1/8 oz jig heads. It's probably in my head, but this works for me.
I tie the jig head directly to the leader, I don't use clips.
I use a 7 foot, 2 to 4 kg graphite rod with a 2500 reel.
I find it easiest to use my techniue in 2 to 5 metres of water.
My bread and butter spot is Patonga, around the moored fishing boats. I always seem to get a feed there.
Between Patonga and jouno, there is a bay with a jetty. That's another great spot close to patonga.
Between the starboard markers and the shore line at Jouno is another OK spot close to patonga.
After heavy rain periods, the water in these spots is dirty and I struggle to catch fish for about 2 weeks.
Here is posibly the most important thing I learnt about fishing for flathead with plastics. Drift, don't anchor. Cast in the direction your boat is drifting (generally out front). DO NOT CAST BEHIND. Here's why. When you cast out front, the line goes limp when your lure hits the bottom. If you cast out back, your lure drags along the bottom, so your line won't go limp. You need to see the line go limp. This will only happen if you cast out front. This is very important.
So, cast out front. As soon as the lure hits the water, close the bail arm and very quickly take up the slack in your line. Stop reeling in as soon as the slack is taken up.
Don't take your eyes off the line. You've cast out front and your boat is drifting closer to the lure, so you'll see the line go limp when the lure hits the bottom. This is the precise moment you flick the rod tip up and reel in 2 turns to take up the slack. The line is tight again, the lure hits the bottom again, flick and reel 2 turns again etc.......Sooner or later you'll flick the rod tip up and the lure will be in a flattys mouth. You'll feel him when you flick the rod tip up. You have to be quick. Flick the rod tip at the precise moment you see the line go limp. Trust me, it works.
If you flick the rod tip up and feel some weight, quickly reel in the slack and flick the tip up again hard. 2 or 3 times if you like. I've lost lots of fish because I hadn't set the hook properly. A 2 to 4 KG rod won't rip the hook out of his mouth.
Don't lift his head out of the water till you have him in the net. He'll go nuts as soon as his head leaves the water.
When I set my drag, I wrap the line around my hand once and set it so it just starts to hurt my hand when I pull line off my reel. This works for me.
If you can't detect the moment when your lure hits the bottom (read the line), you could be drifting too fast for the weight you have on. Use a heavier jig head. I normally use 1/8oz, but if the wind is up a bit and I'm drifting too fast, I'll go up to 1/4oz. In deeper water you need more weight too.
You can't read the line if you cast out the back. You're wasting your time.
Hope this helps, this is what works for me....everything I know. Might see you at Patonga this weekend.