Talking Flathead Tactics
By: Dave Robinson
Flathead are one of the easiest fish to catch using jigheads. They tend to sit on the bottom and wait for their prey to come to them.
When fishing for them with jigheads it’s important to use a jighead and plastic combination that gets to the bottom quickly. Once on the bottom the plastic needs to be ‘hopped’ across the bottom in short, sharp jumps. This is achieved by lifting the tip of the rod quickly and then pausing until the jighead hits the bottom again. After winding in the slack line that the ‘hop’ creates, you are ready to repeat the process until your plastic has been worked back to the boat.
When a flathead hits, you will feel a sudden ‘bump’ and this usually happens just after it has hit the bottom after the jigging action. It’s then a simple matter of lifting the rod with a firm upward stroke to set the hook. Once hooked, it’s up to you to play and land the fish.
A 2kg to 6kg rod with a sensitive tip and strong butt section is ideal for flathead. The rod should be matched to a quality spinning real that’s loaded with 2kg to 6kg mainline. The main line can be mono or braid, however if you are fishing with braid then a 2m leader between 4kg and 8kg should be attached to the main line.
Where to find them
Flathead are ambush feeders and will stay in an area and wait for their prey to come to them. Look for areas where there are sand flats that drop off into deeper channels. During the run-in tide the fish will move onto the flats to feed and then retreat as the tide begins to fall. If you walk the flats at low tide you will often see the indentation left by the fish when it’s been there during the high tide. This means that flathead are close by, usually in the deeper water waiting to move back up onto the flats as the tide rises.
They will also sit just off rock walls in the deeper water. Here, they wait for the bait fish to move away from the cover of the rocks on the falling tide. Fishing this deeper water on a falling tide will often produce some really big ‘lizards’.
Finally, don’t for get to try around bridges, pontoons or sunken snags, as flathead will sit under other fish and wait for their scraps to fall to the bottom.
During their spawning run it’s not unusual to find and catch a heap of flathead in a short period of time. TT Lures are strong supporters of catch and release fishing, so by all means catch plenty with TT jigheads but only keep enough for a feed and please let the big ones go.
Essential TT flathead jigheads
The following is a list of essential flathead jigheads that should be in your tackle box. These jigheads are designed to be matched to 3 inch or 4 inch soft plastics. If you choose to use smaller or longer soft plastics then you will need to alter your hook size to suit.
Tournament Series Jigheads
1/4oz Size 2/0 and 3/0
3/8oz Size 3/0 and 4/0
1/2oz Size 3/0,4/0 and 5/0
Head Hunter Jigheads
1/4oz Size 2/0
3/8oz Size 2/0 and 3/0
1/2oz Size 2/0 and 3/0
Depth Charge Painted Jigheads
1/4oz Size 3/0
3/8oz Size 4/0
1/2oz Size 4/0