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Catching Flathead | Bait for Flathead | Where to Catch Flathead



Angling Fishing for Flathead:

Flathead - chilled on ice - face view

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 "Yanks".

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.

Map showing areas in Australian Waters where flathead are found.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 mullet, tailor, yellowtail, tuna or garfish, 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 worms.

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 catches.

Saltwater Fish - What bait to use for fishing - a list of saltwater baits with the main "diners" who will be tempted.

INFORMATION ON FISHING FOR FLATHEAD

 

Australian bartailed flathead fish
Bartailed Flathead
Australian northern sand flathead fish
Northern Sand Flathead
Australian dusky flathead fish
Dusky Flathead
Australian yellowtailed flathead fish
Yellowtailed Flathead

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


See Also:
Flathead Photographs and Information

Catching Flathead | Bait for Flathead | Where to Catch Flathead

Cooking Flathead | Recipes Using Flathead Fish

Commercial Fishing for Flathead | Buy Sell Flathead

 


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