Now that we’re in December it’s officially the summer fishing season! We’ll start to see more species who are beginning to grow in prominence. In fact, there are several species that are currently in their prime time: Brown Trout, Snapper, Trevally, squid and Flathead.
Murray Cod are now officially out of their banned season and are free for anglers to catch once again.There are a few shark species that will become more prominent for those with access to deeper waters.
The Gummy, Mako and Thresher Sharks are all strongly present in the month of December. If you’re lucky enough to be trying your luck at deeper sea fishing and aiming for any of these beauties, they respond well to snapper bait.
FISH OF THE MONTH: Flathead
With over 40 species of catchable flathead in Australia alone, it’s an understatement to say they are an iconic and fun species to catch.
The bag limits, and the minimum and maximum legal sizes for flathead vary depending on which species you’re targeting. Given how similar many species of flathead look, it’s important that you identify the fish correctly so you can fish within the rules.
With eyes set on top of their head and a perfectly camouflaged body, flatheads are strong ambush predators. They tend to lie waiting at the very bottom of the sand banks for their prey.
WHEN AND WHERE TO FIND THEM:
The most common species of flathead can almost always be found dwelling at the bottom of the water column. That won’t matter if it’s 1 meter or 10, making them one of the more predictable and therefore easier species to fish.
A key characteristic of flathead is to not move around much, even when they’re in feeding mode. As previously noted, being an ambush predator, they will only move to attack. If the flathead stays still until their food comes to them, then anglers must move constantly to find them!
THE RIGHT TECHNIQUES:
With this in mind the most popular techniques for capturing flathead are:drifting,casting or trolling, as they require the angler to always be on the move.
Flathead are also known to be big ‘thrashers’ meaning when they’re reeled in too quickly they’re likely to break free. So how do we get past this? Simply just slow your reel speed, as to avoid pulling them vertically in the water column. . Many fishing techniques will try to get anglers to make their lures/baits to imitate an injured fish. For flatheads we want to be taking advantage of their bottom dwelling, ambush nature. If you let your lure drop to the bottom, rest for a few seconds and then slightly lift again, you’ll have a great chance at catching one.
As this species is not a fussy feeder, it leaves anglers with multiple options for lures or live bait. For lures, aim to use types that are buoyant, soft and flexible. If the lure is buoyant it will stand up off the bottom and attract fish even when you’re not moving. If it’s soft and flexible it will make the fish keep biting and hold on longer.
Flathead do have sharp teeth that can rub through lighter lines. Using wire traces, however, is certainly overkill
With lockdowns finally a thing of the past, it should make the summer fishing season one of the busiest as people flock to the coastline. Enjoy what summer fishing has to offer in Queenscliffe, as the fish will surely be plentiful, as many species hit their peak in December.