This is ALF EPISODE 367. Check out our archives for more information on flathead fishing and Hawkesbury Fishing Spots

Scotty Thorrington

Scotty Thorrington

NSW Central Coast Sportfishing Guide

Scotty grew up on the NSW Central Coast and has fished the area for around 200 days per year since 1988 when he established his sportfishing guiding service. Whilst he’s best known for his marlin exploits, Scotty’s business has two arms and the second one caters to top notch estuary and fly fishing. Four decades of guiding in the area means he knows the waters and the fish like the back of his hand.

Scotty’s Top Flathead Fishing Tips

  • Flathead are a year-round option in the Brisbane Waters area, although the number of fish caught probably tends to be higher over the summer months and the bigger fish tend to come in the cooler months. Often the fish are found deeper during the winter than in summer.
  • Brisbane Waters flathead are very tide dependent. They can be caught on most phases of the tide, but you’ll find that some areas can fish better fish on the incoming tide and others fish better on an outgoing tide.
  • Google Earth is a great way to identify prime fishing spots and what tide they’ll fish best on. Look for sandbars with weed or broken shell, pressure points, drains and gutters. Pressure points are where currents strike sandbars, attracting and holding baitfish, especially if there’s weed present. They fish best on the rising tide. Drains and gutters are self-explanatory and fish best on the falling tide.
  • When fishing pressure points it’s not a bad strategy to kill the main motor a good distance off the structure and then make a pass with the side scan. If there’s bait present it’s a good idea to spotlock up-current and throw lures back to the pressure point. Normally it’s better to spotlock downstream and work lures but areas downstream of these pressure points are shallow or dry, so there’s no other option.
  • Fishing early is always advisable on he central coast as boating traffic increases later in the morning, jet skis start to appear and it’s harder to find a quiet place where the fish aren’t so spooky.
  • Following rain, places where stormwater drains empty into the system and bring a little coloured water often fish well. Scotty generally prefers still, clear days for flathead fishing and adjusts the leader weight to suit the conditions.
  • In summer the days in the lead up to the full moon often fish particularly well, whilst in winter the days leading to the new moon seem to have the edge.
  • Summer fishing tends to be on the flats and drains, while winter fishing is usually more productive n the deeper areas and channels.
  • Fishing a light jig head is often productive, but Scotty finds that a 3/8 oz head is easier for most of his clients to cast and helps keep the lure on the bottom as it’s worked back.
  • For trophy fish, be super stealthy, cruise in on your electric and get there very early in the summer months to avoid the boat traffic when the fish are in very shallow water.

Scotty’s Flathead Fishing Tackle

  • Scotty uses a Samaki Zing Extreme 701 SL or Daiwa TD0 in the 3-6lb range. A 2000 size Daiwa Sol spin reel, 10lb Daiwa J Braid mainline and 6-20lb leader depending on conditions (mostly he uses 15lb).

Scotty’s Best Flathead Fishing Lures

  • The Samaki Vibelicious (clean water) or Thumpertail (dirty water) in 70mm sizes and Smokin’ Orange or Whitebait colours are perfect for fishing the deeper water (3m plus). In the winter months Scotty is often fishing around 5m deep and these lures are deadly. Cast them long, let them sink to the bottom and work them back with a series of rod lifts, maintaining contact with the lure as it sinks back down. Fish often take the lure as it hits bottom again and when you lift the rod for the next hop you’ll come up tight. Use the 100mm version if you’re keen on targeting larger fish and don’t mind catching less bycatch.
  • On the flats in summer time the 4” Samaki Curlylicious is a great choice, in the Ghost colour. Cast this lure anywhere there are baitfish such as whiting or poddy mullet in clean water. Fished on a 3/8 oz head into a drain or dropoff, preferably with the current in 1-6 feet of water. Lift and wind the lure, maintaining contact with it on the drop. Again, the fish will often nail it at the end of the drop and you’ll dome up tight when you go to make the next hop.
  • The 4” Zman Streakz Curly Tail is a great lure choice if the water is dirty. Motor oil colour is effective, especially in the top reaches of Brisbane Waters where bloodworms and green nippers are abundant. Once again fished on a 3/8 oz jig head, this lure is fished in much the same way as the Curlylicious, but can be a more effective option if the water is slightly dirtier.

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Best Lures For Flathead

Central Coast Estuary And Flyfishing

Aside from his marlin charter business, Scotty also operates Central Coast Estuary And Flyfishing, a sport fishing service that takes clients into the many waterways of the NSW Central Coast to experience the best that the region has to offer sport fishers.

Scotty’s Sponsors


Daiwa Australia 




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