Gippsland Fishing Personality
Brett has been fishing for flathead, bream and estuary perch in the Gippsland Lakes area for over two decades and has amassed over 6000 dusky flathead captures since he started keeping a diary in the early 2000’s. Spending 120-150 days per year getting up close and personal with the local fish population, he has plenty of insights to help everyday anglers get more from their lure fishing.
Brett’s Top Flathead Fishing Tips
- For Brett, flathead fishing is about working lures quickly and close to the bottom. This species is an ambush predator and is capable of short bursts of incredible speed to nail a lure. By casting long and working your lures quickly you can cover a lot of water until you find a flathead. If you get a missed bite or two you can then slow down the retrieves and fish the area more thoroughly.
- Flathead are a schooling fish, so once you’ve caught one or two it pays to stay in the one spot and give it a thorough working over as you’ll often get a lot more fish.
- In the tidal parts of the lakes Brett likes the start of the runout tides, when fish are usually pushed well up onto the flats into very shallow water. However, you’ll catch fish on any tide if you take time to figure them out.
- Be observant and keep thinking, especially on the tougher days. You’ll often see clues that can change your fortunes.
- Brett is a big fan of double hooks and tends to replace most of the trebles on his lures with doubles. He finds that this doesn’t affect the hookup rate, but makes lures a little more snag and weed resistant, saves time replacing damaged terminals reduces the time taken to get a fish out of the net, off the hook and back in the water.
- Flathead in shallow water are the most catchable. they’re in the shallows for only one reason: to hunt.
- It’s possible to catch flathead year-round in the Gippsland lakes system, especially since dredging of the entrance has increased the salination of the system. The prime months for numbers of flathead are the warmer months when prawns are active, with lots of big fish coming in Spring when the weather is often unfriendly.
- Perfect conditions for flathead occur when the sky is overcast and there’s a light breeze, but they can be caught in most conditions.
- Using quite large lures (6-9”) is a great way to target the big flathead, but even smaller 60-70cm fish will happily take lures of this size. This strategy reduces bycatch of bream, perch and smaller flathead, meaning less fish but better quality.
Brett’s Flathead Fishing Tackle
- Tackle for flathead fishing doesn’t have to be anything special. Brett likes longer rods of 7ft or so for extra casting distance and tends to prefer spin gear. It’s possible to catch quality flathead on very light leaders, and many are caught as bycatch by those targeting bream and perch. But they’re not leader shy and Brett prefers to use heavier leaders of 12-14lb to minimise the risk of losing fish to cut leaders.
Top Flathead Fishing Lures For Gippsland
- The Hurricane Lures Sprat 75mm is Brett’s go-to soft plastic at present. He likes to fish these on 1/4 oz or less jig heads with larger hooks (3/0), finding that having more hook proud of the plastic is good for converting strikes to hooked fish. He’ll vary the jig head size depending on water depth, but 1/4 oz is about as large as he’ll go. Brett isn’t a fan of the “whipping” technique for flathead, preferring instead to work the lure briskly and close to the bottom and covering as much water as possible in a session until he finds fish.
- The Z-Man Diesel Minnow in 3 or 5” sizes are a great flathead lure and are fished in much the same way as as the Hurricane Sprats.
- Hurricane Lures Switch 66 Bent Minnow complete’s Brett’s Lure recommendations for Gippsland Lakes Flathead. This surface lure can be worked across shallow flats with an extremely erratic action and will often receive an aggressive strike.
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