Karl Attenborough Sandflats Fishing

Karl Attenborough

Youtuber, Sand Flat Fishing Gun

Karl has been fishing the sandflats of the NSW Mid-North Coast for over 25 years. In that time he’s notched up a genuine metre plus flathead, plus countless thumper bream, whiting and school jew. Karl’s Youtube channel is dedicated to helping aspiring flats anglers master the bread and butter species..

Karl’s Top Tips For Winter Flathead

  • Don’t believe the common misconception that flathead can’t be caught in winter. Karl finds that quality, trophy fish are readily available right through the Autumn and winter period. Often they’re in ankle to shin deep water.
  • Have you ever spooked a flathead whilst walking the bank or launching a boat? Now you know where to fish! Next time, put in a few casts before you walk that stretch or launch at that point.
  • If you spook a quality flathead, watch where it goes. Fish that stay on the flats are still active and catchable. Those that head for deeper water are gone. Also be aware that flathead are gregarious, so when you spook one, put in a ton of casts before leaving the area. Usually there will be other fish nearby.
  • During the cooler months flathead move into the shallows in search of warmth to jump start their metabolism. They are nearly always hunting when they are in skinny water, remember: flathead are predators, not scavengers.
  • A little bit of wind is great if it’s behind you and assists casting. Unfortunately the mid north coast gets predominantly south easterlies during the cooler months, which aren’t the best. Look for sheltered areas if it’s blowing hard.
  • Bumping a lure off the bottom may attract flathead in deeper water and will attract a smaller class of fish in the shallows, but Karl finds that it spooks the trophy fish in knee deep water or less. Surface lures are a better option and are Karl’s first choice for this style of fishing.
  • Flats that have a covering of water even at low tide are Karl’s preference for daytime fishing. He likes the few days leading up to the full moon or the new moon with a high tide mid morning. This allows him to fish the flats on the runout. He likes to “cross the T” in this scenario, casting across the current and working the lure back across the fish’s face.
  • Flats that are dry at low tide tend to fish well on the very large spring tides around a full moon, especially at night. Karl’s strategy here is to walk along the mangrove edges and cast surface lures with the current, working them back against the current.
  • Understand that trophy flathead are a viable option in winter, but at times it can be many casts between fish. Be patient, observant and willing to experiment with techniques.
  • Don’t use lures under 110mm in length if trophy flathead are your target.
  • Karl has caught 11 flathead over 80cm so far in 2020 and 5 of them over 90cm in length. All but one of these fish has come from surface lures fished in less than 20cm of water.
  • Move stealthily and avoid being seen. Cast long and fan casts out to cover as much water as possible.

Karl’s Tackle Recommendations For Winter Flathead

  • Medium to light spin gear is preferred, but the rod still has to be capable of casting the relatively large lures of 25g or more. Karl is uses a Fish Arrow Light or Samaki Skitch Nano with a 2500 size spin reel. PE 0.8 to 1 (10-14lb) Unitika braided mainline and a 12-14 lb Schneider line mono leader complete the outfit. Mono coped better than fluorocarbon with the big fish Karl has been encountering due to the added shock absorption.

Karl’s Best Flathead Lures

  • The number one standout lure is the Bassday Sugapen in 120mm size. This lure can be cast a mile and worked back walk the dog style with occasional pauses over weed and sand as little as ankle deep.
  • The Rapala Shadow Rap has been a very successful lure for Karl on trophy flathead. He’ll go for this lure when the water is knee deep and will switch to the Sugapen once the water recedes a little.
  • The ubiquitous Gold Bomber isn’t just a top barra lure, it’s also a standout shallow swimmer for targeting trophy flathead. Karl recommends switching out the heavy duty hooks for lighter sharper models that will help pin more flathead. Once again, use it to cross the T!

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Frogley’s Offshore has supported Karl’s fishing for a number of years now and are importers and distributors of a range of high quality lures and tackle including Atomic Arrowz rods, Bassday Lures, Unitika lines and plenty more!


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