Gary’s Top Tips For Flathead Fishing

  • Flathead fishing at Botany Bay and Port Hacking fishing spots is about working the tides. During incoming tides,fish will move up with the water, often in a few inches of water right along the edges. Fish retreat with the outgoing tide, moving back into the deeper gutters and channels.
  • Flathead will be lethargic through September but will gain momentum as the water starts to warm. Port Hacking has especially clear water, although Botany Bay is also quite clear and lure colours can make a real difference. For winter flathead fishing you can get more info from Gary’s episode on Botany Bay Winter fishing Spots.
  • The weedbeds at the entrance to South West Arm in Port Hacking are a great place to start and drop off into deeper water with a sandy bottom. On the falling tide flathead will sit in water just 100-150mm deep waiting for bait to be swept off the flats. On the incoming tide flathead sit in small sandy patches in the weed and can be targeted with soft plastics on Snakelockz jig heads.
  • Casting along rock walls and retrieving parallel to the rocks is a good strategy. Cast up-current and bounce the lure back a little faster than the current. Take a heavy duty lure retriever as it’s common to get hung up. Most lures can be recovered using a lure retriever.
  • Glassed out, calm days are Gary’s preference for flathead fishing. It’s important to have some water movement, but it’s not critical whether the water is clear or dirty.
  • For the land-based angler the groynes running at 90 degrees from the shore around Cooks River in the NW corner of Botany Bay are worth a cast. Stand on the shore and Put in 5-6 casts on one side of each groyne, then 5-6 casts on the other. If no fish are forthcoming, move to the next groyne.

Gary’s Preferred Flathead Tackle

  • Gary likes spin gear for it’s ability to cast light lure further. He couples a 3-6 kg rod with a size 40 reel and 10-12lb braided line. He likes the solid glass tipped rods for this style of fishing and uses 3-7 kg fluorocarbon leaders for best results.

Gary’s Best Flathead Fishing Lures

  • ZMan paddle tail or curly tail plastics are effective on TT Snakelock jig heads and can be worked a little faster than normal and hopped through the weed until you reach the sand, then ripped and burned. Let them sink to the bottom and let them sit for a while and let the tail waft in the water before moving the lure again.
  • TT Switchblade lures are great in deeper water and can be hopped or “teabagged” in depths of 5-10m with good results. Once again, a good lure retriever is important to reduce lure losses.
  • The Mann’s stretch range of minnow style lures are great on flathead in these areas and can be cast or trolled effectively. The large bib helps bounce the lure over structure without getting hung up.
  • For topwater flathead, Gary likes the 65mm Sammy. This lure can b fished in “walk the dog” style or ripped and burned and will take most species in Botany Bay and Port Hacking.

Other Flathead Fishing Resources

Flathead Tackle Cheat Sheet 
Understanding Flathead With Greg Vinall

Gary Brown

Fishing Author And Sponsored Angler

Gary Brown is a Sydney-based fishing author and sponsored angler. He’s authored the books Sydney and Hawkesbury Fishing Atlas, NSW South Coast Fishing Atlas, Rock and Beach Fishing and “How To Catch Australia’s Favourite Saltwater Fish”. He also writes for Kaydo Fishing World, Visit The Shire and has been published in NSW Fishing Monthly for 23 years without missing a single month. When he’s not writing, Gary speaks regularly at fishing events and tackle stores.

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Mastering Topwater Flathead With Simon Cross And Deathy

Mastering Topwater Flathead With Simon Cross And Deathy

This is ALF EPISODE #653 Check out Crossy's previous episode, or our flathead fishing archive for more!  Simon Cross Topwater Flathead Guru and Lure Maker In recent years Crossy has become something of a legend as a pioneer of topwater flathead fishing and the...

Gary’s Sponsors

Tackle Tactics import Okuma rods and reels and distribute Zman softplastics, TT blades and TT headlockz jig heads.


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