Catching Flathead: Part 2

By Steve ‘Starlo’ Starling

You don’t need super expensive or highly sophisticated gear to catch plenty of flatties on Squidgies. The ideal, all-round flattie outfit for use in estuaries, bays and harbours is a 2500 or 3000 size Shimano spinning reel matched to a 1.8 to 2.2 m long Shimano spin rod that’s rated to suit lines from 2 to 6 kg breaking strain and casting weights from 5 to 25 g or thereabouts. Fill the reel with either PowerPro or Kairiki line, if you enjoy fishing this with braided main line, or a quality monofilament such as Shimano Exage+.

Main lines with rated breaking strains from 3 to 6 kg (6 to 15 pounds) are usually best for this job, but if you opt for the lighter end of that range, always add a slightly heavier leader at the business end of the main line, as flatties have lots of small, sharp teeth that can easily abrade and break lighter lines. But you certainly don’t need a wire trace and will hook a LOT less fish if you use one. A 6 to 10 kg monofilament (nylon or fluorocarbon) leader will greatly reduce the number of “chew-offs” you suffer from bigger flatties. (Note that you should ALWAYS add a mono’ leader to the working end of your braided line, whatever you fish for. We strongly recommend Ocea Leader material for this task.)

Just about EVERY Squidgies tail ever made will catch flathead, but some of my personal favourites include Squidgies Fish and Pro Fish in the 70, 80 and 100 mm lengths, Squidgies Pro Shads in the 75 and 100 mm sizes, Squidgies Wrigglers and Pro Wrigglers in the 100, 120 and even 140 mm sizes, Squidgies Whipbaits and Pro Whipbaits in the 80, 100 and 125 mm lengths, Pro Prawns (both Paddle and Wriggler Tails) in the 80, 95 and 110 mm sizes, and also the pre-rigged Squidgies Slick Rigs and Mongrels, especially in their smaller to mid-range sizes.

The new Squidgies Bio Tough ranges is also proving to be absolutely deadly on flathead, wherever they are found!

Best tail colours in clear water are natural bait imitations such as Bloodworm, Cracked Pepper, Wasabi, Pilly, Black Gold, White Lightning and so on. In dirtier water or low light, try brighter tones such as Major Mitchell, Lime Lightning, TNT and Lorikeet. Be willing to experiment and try different Squidgies models, sizes and colours to discover what’s working best on the day.

Always choose a heavy enough jig head to ensure that the lure makes regular contact with the bottom throughout the stop/start retrieve (typically this will be a 5 to 12 g head, depending on the water depth and current strength), and be sure to rig your tails nice and straight on their jig heads and always test swim them first.

Cast out, let the lure reach the bottom and then work it with a series of short, sharp flicks, sweeps of the rod, lifts, drops and regular pauses to ensure it regularly regains contact with the bottom. Again, experiment to find out which retrieve is best.

Seriously, there’s really not much more to it than that! So what are you waiting for? Grab some Squidgies and go catch yourself a fabulous feed of flatties!