Andrew Ettinghausen "ET" Bio

Andrew “ET” Ettinghausen

Aussie Fishing Icon And TV Presenter

ET is a well known and highly respected Australian fishing and television personality. Having hosted his fishing show “Escape With ET” for 23 years, ET has played a major role in educating, informing and entertaining aussie fishers and showcasing what the sport has to offer. Aside from Escape, ET has presented a number of fishing related television series and been involved in non-fishing television on occassion too. Not to mention a long and highly decorated career as a Rugby League legend!


ET’s Advice For Port Hacking Flathead

  • Flathead are one of the “bread and butter” species in NSW estuaries and the Port Hacking River has some lovely, 2-3km long flats that hold flathead in good numbers. The area known as “The Ballast Heap” where 1900’s vessels used to dump rock is now heavily oyster encrusted and holds plenty of bait, which attracts the flathead.
  • There are not many mangroves in this system, but the dropoffs are a good place to start – Stay in the main channel and fish the edges for best results. Get onto Google Earth and get a gameplan together before you hit the water, so you know what banks to hit at what stages of the tide and so on.
  • In early 2022 there has been a lot of rain, bringing fresh into the system. This doesn’t seem to bother the flathead or the bream too much though and ET has been catching good flathead for his show at the time of this interview.
  • On the incoming tides the bigger flathead will move up over the dropoffs and onto the flats. Recently ET has had good success fishing the smaller of the high tides, casting up to the waters edge and then working them back over the edge of the dropoffs. The smaller high tides don’t allow the bait to push right back onto the flats and provide a longer bite window. Half tide in to half tide out is best for this opportunity.
  • The period from September to April fishes best for the bigger flathead as they tend to go a little quieter in the cooler months.
  • Tide is the key factor that affects a flathead bite, but having some wind is also beneficial, particularly if you can position your boat for a good drift and for long, wind-assisted casting. The presence of baitfish is the other key factor to consider – good numbers of mullet and garfish cruising the flats is an encouraging sign.
  • It’s worth getting out on a decent low tide and doing some walking to find areas where flathead have been lying when the water is up.
  • It’s super important to set the hooks well on big flathead as they have a habit of shaking out the hooks.
  • Big flathead don’t usually bother to leave the bottom to hit a small lure but are far more likely to smash a 20cm plus offering that swims past.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of always fishing the same locations, move around, try different locations, be aware of the conditions and adjust to suit.

ET’s Tackle For Port Hacking Flathead

  • For big flathead you’re likely to be casting big lures, so you’ll need a rod that can handle the cast weights. A 4-8kg or even a 6-12kg spin rod is best, preferably in the 2.2m length range for long casting. ET has been using Shimano T-Curve Premium range rods, which he finds have heaps of strength but are light in the hand and easy to cast with. A 2500 reel is about right – ET uses the Shimano Vanford reel loaded with 20lb braid and 20lb fluorocarbon leader gives some protection from getting rubbed off. He’ll even go to 30lb fluorocarbon if he’s in tough country with lots of oysters.
  • For smaller fish ET uses a 2-5kg spin rod with a 10lb braid and lighter leaders of around 8-12 lb fluorocarbon.

ET’s Port Hacking Flathead Lures

  • Large flathead love big glidebaits similar to those that large Murray cod or barra might take. Lures from 15cm upwards and even up to 30cm at times. These are best worked with two or three big titches, then paused and allowed to float back to the surface. ET likes colours that are similar to the mullet and garfish that are typical prey for big flatties, such as whites, yellows and greys.
  • The 5″ Zerek live shrimp is awesome for flathead in Port Hacking around the Xmas period when the prawns are running and the flathead are eating them. The 3.5″ version is great for the smaller run of fish. This lure can be fished using standard jig heads, but ET finds that rigging them weedless on work hooks is a good strategy when there is plenty of weed about.
  • ET recently got inspired to throw the Ignite Cod Fury at flathead and has managed some quality fish with this lure.

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