1. Keep the lure on or close to the bottom while fishing
This is the most important tip I can offer for flathead fishing. Flathead sit hidden in the sand and the mud on the bottom waiting to ambush passing prey, if your lure is not within a metre of the bottom, then flathead are likely not to attack it as it’s too far for them to see or reach it. So ensure your hardbody, fly or soft plastic is on or near the bottom on your retrieve.
2. Use heavier leaders than usual when fishing for Flathead
We recommend to use heavier than usual leaders if specifically targeting flathead, and especially if you know there are big ones around. We usually use 4 lb fluorocarbon leader for bream fishing and often get a lot of flathead as bycatch, but we also lose a lot of lures to flathead on this light gear. If targeting flathead specifically we recommend a 6-8lb leader to help with the abrasion that is caused when a flathead swallows the lure whole and the leader is rubbing on their teeth. The heavier leader does not seem to spook flathead like it can with bream.
3. Target drop offs and ambush points
Flathead are ambush feeders, they wait for baitfish, food etc to swim past close enough and before attacking. They love drop offs where the smaller fish get forced off the flats by dropping tides and at junction points for feeder creeks where they get forced out into the main river, similar to barra. Targeting these areas will help increase catch rates.
4. Target flathead in 1-2m depth
Depths of 1-2m appear to be our most successful depth for catching flatties. They seem to favour this depth, giving them cover from birds in the form of depth but are still able to potentially ambush anything which swims above them in the water column. You can and will catch flathead at almost any depth, but we have found this to be the most effective depth.
5. Use Soft Plastics with heavier jig heads
Soft plastics are renowned for catching flathead, they look great in the water with heaps of action, they are cheap, and its easy to change the jigheads to suit the depth of water you are fishing. When targeting flathead we like to use a ¼ ounce jighead with a 1/0 or 2/0 hook. This can be rigged on a variety of soft plastics from 2” curl tail grubs up to 4” shads, and are very versatile. The heavier jighead also makes sure the lure gets to the bottom quickly and stays nice and close to the bottom throughout the retrieve where the flathead are sitting. they can also be cast further, covering more water with each cast.
Trying some of these techniques will help increase your flathead fishing catch rates with lures.