Central Queensland Fishing Personality
Nick has been lure fishing for 33 years and doing it in central Queensland since 2006. He’s a sponsored angler and Instagrammer who has won sooty grunter tournaments, consistently targeted GTs and Spanish and has a habit of pinning quality barra. He’s also a wizard when it comes to using mapping and developing fishing algorithms. For todays episode he’s agreed to share tips for targeting the humble flathead in central Queensland.
Nick’s Central Qld Flathead Fishing
- With so many glamorous species available around central Queensland, you could be forgiven if you overlooked the humble flathead. Those that make a point of looking for them will find that they’re smaller species than the metre monsters of SEQ and further south, but 70cm fish are definitely on the cards.
- Anywhere there is an edge where the bottom switches from being sandy, rocky, weedy, muddy or shelly is always a good spot to target flathead.
- The water can’t be too shallow. Nick likes to fish from the shore and likes to walk in and stand on the sandy “love humps” and make casts to areas with diverse substrates.
- Be prepared for a bycatch of barra, grunter, blue salmon or other species. You may be able to handle them on the flathead gear, but it also doesn’t hurt to have a heavier outfit on hand just in case.
- Online GIS Mapping is your friend. Google Earth, Queensland Globe and local council mapping, such as MyMaps in Mackay will help you find spots. Look for smaller systems and the river mouths of some larger systems. These maps will often reveal those changes in bottom structure.
- Beaches are also productive for flathead fishing, especially if there is a broken substrate, weed, sand, mud and rock.
- Nick creates databases with photos and GPS details that pull together tides, moons, wind and other details and allow him to analyse patterns in his catches.
- Outgoing tides from the middle of the tide down to the bottom and back into the start of the run in tide fish best. The really big tides tend to create stronger currents and dirty water, smaller tides tend to result in slower flathead action, so try and find those mid-range tides that balance the two extremes.
- Overcast days often give longer bite windows, especially when the fish are up in super shallow water. 5-15 knot winds are good as they create ripple without making the water too difficult.
- If the flathead aren’t playing, slow everything down. That said, they’re pretty reliable and if there aren’t too many flatties on then go chase one of the many other species available.
Nicks CQ Flathead Fishing Tackle
- Nick gears up with a Daiwa TD Sol 3 or Certate LT in the 2000-2500 size, 10lb J-Braid Grand mainline and a 12lb Daiwa FC fluorocarbon leader. Longer rods of 7’ are great for casting, but Nick often uses a Daiwa TD Black Wild Weasel, which is 6’8” and 2-5kg.
Nick’s Flathead Fishing Lures
- The Daiwa Bait Junky 3.2” Bait Junky Minnow in green colours such as Baby Bass or Motor Oil on a 1/4oz, 1/0 Jig Hook. This will normally be the #1 lure that Nick starts with, due to its versatility and ability to be fished anywhere flathead might be. Nick especially likes fishing it from hip deep water to the very shallows. Cast up-current and parallel to the bank and work the lure close to the edge and keep it touching the bottom and puffing up sand, or just above the bottom if you’re over rock. On beaches, try and detect which way the current is moving and fish with the water flow.
- The Daiwa Bait Junky 2.5” grub, again in green colours is a good option if the Bait Junky Minnow isn’t doing the job. It’s fished in much the same way as the minnow but can be more effective when a subtle lure is needed, especially if the jelly prawns are around.
- The Daiwa Steez Shad in pink colours or the 60mm Double Clutch are good hard bodied options when you’re fishing slightly deeper water, from 2m to the waters edge. The idea is to keep it bouncing through structure and puffing up sand where possible. A varied twitch, twitch pause and slow roll retrieve is effective, “like you’re teasing a cat”.