Tournament Bass and Bream Angler
Matt is a high profile bream and bass tournament angler based in the Grafton area with 18 top ten placings across a range of disciplines. He fishes from bank and boat but is especially passionate about fishing from a kayak and has been perfecting the art of winter flathead fishing in the shallows for a number of years .
Matt’s Top Flathead Fishing Tips
- Do some research before leaving home to identify where to start fishing. Some of New South Wales northern estuaries (eg Clarence) contain relatively little shallow flathead habitat, so identify it online to save wasted time on the water. Conversely, this means that it can be easier to know where the fish might congregate.
- On Google Earth, look for areas of sandflat and shallow water where the current changes direction, where currents converge or where there are breaks in the current. Once on the water, look for signs of bait as flathead will be close behind.
- Start fishing well back from the waters edge as it’s not uncommon for big flathead to be in 10cm of water. Spooked fish are a good sign as it indicates that you;re in the right place. There are usually plenty more fish around, so it’s time to start casting.
- Approach snags, rock bars and other structures in the same way as the waters edge – start casting from well back and fan out casts to cover the water before moving closer. Big flathead often sit 20-30 m away from the structure, picking off the stragglers on the edge of the bait schools.
- Stealth is key. Flathead in shallow water are easily spooked, so wade quietly or if using a boat, drop the electric in and shut off the main motor well in advance.
- Matt prefers clear blue sky days with not too much wind and a big high tide in the middle of the day. The usually productive dawn and dusk periods are also good for winter flathead.
- Periods after rain when there’s a little bit of colour to the water are often productive, as long as the water doesn’t get too dirty.
Matt’s Preferred Flathead Fishing Tackle
- For casting smaller, lighter lures such as plastic and small hard-bodied lures, Matt uses a Samurai Reaction, 7’4″, 2-6lb rod 2000-2500 Certate spin rool, 8-10lb braid and 10-12lb leader.
- For casting large glidebaits a 6′ Samurai Runoff baitcast rof in the 20-30lb line class with a 200 sized Daiwa baitcast reel, 30lb line and 30lb leader is Matt’s preference.
Matt’s Flathead Fishing Lures
- The first lure Matt always goes to is a finesse jerkbait: the Bassday Sugaswim. This is a relatively small lure at 70cm and is a great imitation of local baitfish that dives to around 1m. The idea is to fan out long casts and work the lure by slow rolling and adding lots of little jerks of the rod tip. A few twitches and a pause is often a good combination, and this is the lure to use in the very shallow water.
- The Atomic slim twitch 95 suspending jerkbait is a great lure for searching and runs a little deeper than the Sugaslim and can be worked more erratically with rips of the rod tip interspersed with pauses. It’s a great lure to use in vibrant colours when the water is a little dirty or the sky is overcast.
- A large floating glidebait is a great option when you’re confident that there are big fish about. The 180mm Arachi or the 178mm Molix glidebait is a good option and these lures are worked super slow. Wind the reel a couple of times and then pause for a moment before repeating. This will create a wide, S-shaped action that can attract trophy flathead from a number of metres away for a very visual strike.