Yak Hunter And Flathead Specialist
Richard Smith has been fishing the Newcastle area since he was just 9 years old, has been fishing the lake from a kayak since 2010 and in 2016 got involved with Yak Hunters. His reputation for putting down his rod even during a contest to help less experienced anglers is legendary and through his involvement with the Lake Mac trophy flathead program he’s become a prolific contributor to our understanding of the species.
Richard’s Lake Macquarie Flathead Tips
- It’s important to be very methodical and work the area you’re fishing over to ensure every square inch is covered, keeping the lure as close to the bottom as possible. Cast at 45 degrees to the left, then make the next cast ten degrees to the right and keep doing that until you’ve covered all the territory. Then move a short distance and start again.
- Richard mainly fishes the northern end of the lake where the water doesn’t get much deeper than 5.5 metres and there is minimal tidal flow, just a gentle rise and fall in water level.
- In the summer the flathead will be on the edges in a few centimetres of water but in winter they congregate along the drop-offs. It can be productive to either troll lures along these contours or to drift over the deeper water and hop lures down the front of the drop-offs.
- Richard doesn’t pay much attention to tides, winds and so on and just goes whenever he can, unless it’s a howling wind. Warm summer afternoons are always a productive time to fish.
- Willy weather is a kayak fisher’s best friend. The lake can be uncomfortable and even dangerous if the conditions are windy, but there are plenty of fish to be caught in sheltered parts of the lake.
- With all lures it’s important to fish right to the edge of the kayak and then slowly lift it up through the water column as it’s quite common for fish to take a lure boat side.
Richard’s Lake Macquarie Fishing Tackle
- A 6’6” to 7’2” 1-3kg or 1-4kg spin rod is enough to subdue a flathead from a kayak. Richard uses a 1-4kg Shimano Raider Finesse Bream, a 6’6” Daiwa Hyper and a 6’10” Daiwa TD Black Itchy Twitchy make up Richard’s rod selection.
- Shimano Stradic Ci4 spin reels, decent quality 6-8lb braid
- For trolling Richard uses the ABU Garcia Revo with a light baitcast rod.
Richard’s Lake Macquarie Flathead Lures
- A Pro Lure Fishtail 105 mm in Natural Shad colour with a ¼ to ½ oz jighead and 3/0 to 6/0 hook is a great lure when there are bigger fish around and can be slow rolled or worked with very slow lifts of the rod followed by allowing the lure to drop. Keep it subtle and keep the lure as close to the bottom as possible. Putting some scent into the belly slit is a good strategy.
- The Samaki Vibelicious Forktail in 70mm size and Pearl Shrimp colour is a great soft vibe for Lake Macquarie Flathead. It can be cast long and allowed to fully sink to the bottom, as previously described and worked with gentle lifts of the rod tip or slow rolled, again keeping it as close to the bottom as possible.
- The Atomic Hardz Shiner (85mm) Double Deep in Muddy Prawn colour is great in the winter months. Troll along the contours of the drop-offs at 2.4 to 2.7 km/hr starting by putting the lure a long way behind the boat and letting it hit the bottom, then wind a little forward until the lure is just above the bottom. Pedal the kayak a hundred metres or so, then turn and come back the opposite direction but a few metres away from the previous troll line, ensuring the entire lake bed gets a good workover.
Yak Hunters is a great kayak fishing community with over 40,000 members at all levels of skill and experience. There are resources to help anglers learn and hone their kayak fishing skills, plenty of helpful threads and conversations and the opportunity to tget involved in casual fishing events or more serious fishing tournaments. Yak Hunters NSW and National sponsors include: