| Bait for Flathead | Where to Catch Flathead
Angling Fishing for Flathead:
There are more than 40 species of
Flathead found in
Australia. Most of these are found from southern QLD, south around the southern half of
Australia to South West Western Australia.
The dusky is the largest
member of the family Platycephalidae, which contains more than
30 species, at least 14 of which are taken by anglers from time
to time. Most of the more common flathead may be separated and
identified by carefully examining the colouration and markings
on the tail or caudal fin. The dusky flathead or dusky is also
known as the estuary flathead and mud flathead, while it and
other members of this extensive family are also commonly
referred to as "flatties", "frogs", "lizards", "croc's" and
Flathead are found in shallow estuaries and lakes and inhabit streams as far upstream
as the tidal limits, but they often are found in freshwater. They are also found offshore
on sandy or gravel bottoms and seagrass beds. Their range is from intertidal areas to
depths of 10 metres. Sand Flathead have been found at depths of up to 100 metres.
Flathead may be fished for in a variety of ways.
Many are taken on bottom-fished or drifted baits of small, live or dead "poddy"
mullet or herring, pilchards, whitebait, sprats, anchovy and strips of
yellowtail, tuna or
as well as yabbies, nippers, marine worms, shellfish and
prawns. When using dead
baits, results are often improved by retrieving the bait slowly over the seabed,
or by using the tide and current to keep the boat or rig moving.
Flathead are also a
recognised lure and fly fishing target. They respond
particularly well to small and medium sized metal spoons,
rubber-tailed jigs, floating/diving or sinking minnows, plugs
and streamer flies. These should be presented close to the
bottom for best results.
Flathead are a lazy fish who lie partly covered in mud or sand and wait for their prey
to be within a close distance, though occasionally they are scavenging feeders. Their diet
consists of small fish, crabs, prawns and other small crustaceans, octopus, squid and
Sand Flathead catches of southern New South Wales and in eastern Bass Strait are
controlled by the Commonwealth of Australia under regulations applying to the South East
Fishery. Gear restrictions and legal minimum lengths apply in all States.
The maximum age of flathead is 9 years and the maximum size is 46 - 120 cm tail length.
Weight maximums are 3 - 15 kg.
Flathead are also a popular recreational fish. Wire traces are recommended as they have
sharp, powerful mouths. Live, small fish are a very successful bait. Fishing on the edge
of sandbars and particularly on the edge of channels in marine lakes produces good
Video: Post release Survival of line caught
flathead in sheltered coastal waters:
National Strategy for the Survival of Released Line
Caught Fisheries Research and Development Corporation
Project No. 2004/071 National strategy for the survival of released line caught
fish: maximising post- release survival in line caught flathead taken in
sheltered coastal waters