Chasing Flatties at the Local
The day began early this morning, as it does on most of my fishing sessions . There’s something about the quiet of the morning with its earthy smell, cool temperatures and lightening skies that makes you feel really peaceful. Added to this you arrive at your destination and the birds are joined in their “dawn chorus” as you get your first glimpse of the mirror-like sheen of a slowly ebbing river. How could anyone not love this sport.
Arriving at my local creek I quickly set up my kayak and slid across the muddy bank and into the water. I had decided to target the mighty flathead again after a very enjoyable session with Biggles in the SFC had left me wanting more. My strategic plan was identical to the last trip gentle following the current as at ebbed and casting 70mm Squidgie fish at the gentle sloping banks, creek mouths and bends in the rivers where sand had built up.
The conditions weather wise were perfect with no breeze and the rising sun unveiling a perfectly blue sky. The only disappointing part was that the tides were not ideal. I prefer to fish two hours either side of the low tide but sometimes you just don’t get to choose the perfect day to fish. After drifting downstream for 30min the tide began to turn and the flood began. Luckily the current was still relatively weak and I was able to paddle against it and cast at my preferred structure for a little longer before I was forced to head upstream.
The morning was very quiet and I did not get a bump. It wasn’t until I drifted back upstream and switched banks that I got my first hit. The flattie came out of typical flathead structure in this system. It was a large drain that I know had a sand bank above it before dropping into the main channel. The retrieve was a typical flathead retrieve allowing the SP to hit the bottom, lift the rod tip to pull the SP back into the water column and allow it to swim back to the bottom. A couple of cranks of the handle and the whole process was repeated. About halfway back the SP was picked up and upon setting the hooks I knew the fish was a good one. The drag was set light which is my preferred setting for flathead and after a patient fight I netted a 58cm flathead.
I headed upstream and the current was beginning to flow in really quickly which can frustrate me in this system. On a random cast at a good looking piece of timber the SP was hit halfway back. A short fight later I had netted my second flattie at 50cm.
A short time later I was casting at the upstream side of a bend in the river. I’ve found that flathead often move above or below structure based on the tidal movements and on a cast upstream of the bend I copped a good bump. I knew it was a fish but it must have settled back to the bottom and didn’t follow the SP any further. I quickly cast over the spot where I had been hit and as soon as it passed where I thought the flattie had settled it was slammed and the flattie took a big run. The fight took awhile with the drag set so low but I eventually netted a 64cm flathead. A few quick picks and she was on her way.
5 minutes later on the same bank the lure was teased again. A couple of flicks later and it was picked up. The flattie gave a few vigorous head shakes that transferred up through the line and rod and then nothing. The fish had thrown the hooks much to my frustration.I continued my drift along the gently sloping banks and managed to pick up another average flattie of 51cm before the tide turned again and I began drifting back. I cast at any interesting structure as I drifted with the current with the only entertainment some large predatory fish chopping up some mullet in the middle of the creek. I tried casting at the cruising fish but they showed no interest in anything I cast in their direction.
As I drifted back the multitude of bait fishos lined the banks. It still amazes me how well this creek fishes even though it cops a lot of fishing pressure. This creek is home to a really healthy population of good sized flathead and I love coming here to fish! I made it back to the launch spot and the tide was high enough that I didn’t have to coat my kayak in mud before putting it on the roof of my car. It was a very pleasant morning and I can’t wait to head back their soon.