Shane Porter Fishing Bio ALF Port Stephens Flathead

Shane Porter

Topwater Flathead Addict

Shane has been a passionate fisherman for over 40 years but over the past few years has been particularly focussed on targeting flathead on topwater lures in the Port Stephens area.

Port Stephens Topwater Flathead   Port Stephens Flathead Instag  

Shane’s Tips For Port Stephens Flathead

  • On the NSW Central Coast the flathead cop plenty of fishing pressure, and with the trophy fish being 13 plus years old they’ve seen a lot of lures. They know it’s best to feed during periods when they are less likely to be hunted. Shane finds that it’s best to be on the water before first light and he usually leaves 30 minutes or so after first light.
  • Research is super important. Make the effort to walk around the flats during daylight at low tide. Shane often does this at the end of his fishing session and makes a note of where the tell-tale “lies” that flathead leave in the sand are found. Fresh lies are obvious from the different sand colour and lack of debris. Older lies have usually collected more pieces of weed and other floating materials.
  • Pelicans are a great sign of where there are flathead, don’t be afraid that they might be scaring the fish.
  • Surface feeding flathead make a distinctive noise when they are eating whiting prawns and other items. Often when one starts it will trigger other nearby fish to feed. The pitch of the sound can give a clue to the size of the fish.
  • It’s smart to stand in the water for 20 minutes or so and just listen for the distinctive kissing sound of whiting and the noise of flathead feeding on them. Once a larger flathead is heard the angler knows where to cast – making casts away from where the fish is believed to be and making each successive cast closer and closer to the fish.
  • Any sandbank that has current pushing onto it is a good place to start, particularly if the tide is nearing the top and there is a dropoff, weedbed, log or other structure nearby. On extensive sand flats Shane usually finds the fish will stay close to edges where they can retreat to deeper water.
  • On the runout tide the drop-offs and edges can fish well, but for topwater it’s the last of the run in tide that fishes best.
  • The warmer months are the most productive for Shane and he doesn’t find that lunar phases make too much difference. Shane has caught a few fish on lures at night on a full moon, but feels the dangers of wading with stingrays need to be weighed up.
  • Long casts are super important, so days when there is a little bit of breeze are great provided you can position yourself to cast with the wind. Southerly winds tend to help encourage a bite.
  • Missed bites and hookups outside of the mouth are common with topwater lures. That’s just part of chasing them on the surface.
  • Shane recalls instances when he’s stood in the one spot catching fish and when the bite went quiet he’s switched lures and started picking up fish again.
  • Love the journey. You’re going to have quiet days at time, so take the opportunity to figure out if there’s a lesson to be taken away. What were the fish feeding on, and how can you imitate it better?

Shane’s Flathead Fishing Tackle

  • An Atomic Arrowz Medium-Light rod coupled with a Shimano Vanford reel in 2500 size, 8lb Tasline and 50cm of 25lb fluorocarbon leader. In low light the flathead are not leader shy so the heavier leader prevents lost fish through abrasion, keeping the leader short means there is no knot going through the rod guides, which helps with casting.



Shanes Flathead Lure Options

  • The Duo Realis pencil 130 is like a bullet to cast and contains a good rattle that sounds like a whiting feeding. Twitching down with the rod will make it bounce forward about 4”, which can be effective, but a standards walk the dog retrieve can work very well also. Flathead usually hit the lure on the pause and fish are often lost by not pausing long enough. Sometimes if Shane is confident there are flathead where he’s fishing he’ll make 4-5 casts and burn the lure past the fish at high speed. The next cast he’ll work the jig with lots of pauses. This has the effect of exciting the fish and makes it likely they’ll smash the lure when it’s worked more slowly.  
  • The Bassday Sugar Pen 120mm is a more subtle option for topwater flathead and is a good selection when the fish are a little more shy. HM Lures Bent Minnows (130mm) are also more subtle than the Duo Realis.
  • A 4” soft plastic, Shane likes the paddletails made locally by 1st Cast Lures, particularly the Olive Back colour, which looks much like a whiting. A thin gauge hook such as the TT Tournament range in 1/4oz, size 3/0 is perfect for this style of fishing. Start casting well away from the edge, otherwise you risk spooking the flathead. Once you’re at the edge, make casts to either side along the bank and then finally fish the deeper water.
  • Shallow running hard bodies can be really effective on these flats too.

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1 Comment

  1. Matt J

    So much valuable information is packed into this episode, it will take several playbacks to absorb everything. Also thumbs up to Shane for getting us onto 1st Cast Lures – I diligently ordered some SPs first thing Monday morning after the episode aired to beat the rush, and happy to report I just received some amazing-looking SP lures, a hand-written “thank you” note from Matthew at 1st Cast Lures, and a few extras.


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