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FISHING THE FLATZ

Jack Welsh

All over Australia in estuarine rivers and creeks there are sand flats, some shallower than others but they all hold good fish. There are many different species, particularly in South East Queensland, you can target when fishing the flats, such as bream, flathead and whiting. Flats hold many types of food, such as worms, yabbies and smaller bait fish and this is what brings the fish onto them. Some flats hold consistent and good numbers of fish while others hold only a couple so it pays to look around and just give them a try first hand.

A mate and I decided to give the local flats a working in his tinny. The plan was to hit the water nice and early, to catch the last two hours of the run out tide and then just fish the rest of the day in the canals. So we put the boat in at around 5:30am, just as the sun was rising and headed towards our spot. Upon arriving we cut the motor just before the flat to rig up our rods, both of us opted to go with a ZMan 2.5" GrubZ in Motor Oil and Bloodworm matched with TT 1/12oz and 1/20oz jigheads. These are the plastics and jigheads we have had success on in the past so why change it up!

Once rigged up we positioned the boat upstream of the flat to catch the tide across it (the Minn Kota was out of action for the day). We would cast our GrubZ as far as possible ahead of the boat and drifted towards them so the plastics would appear a lot more natural and not have any drag through the water. It didn't take long to get the first hook-up of the morning, a lovely acrobatic tailor had engulfed my mates ZMan and was determined to stay away from the boat. After a short tussle it was in the boat and went a nice 37cm. Even a toothy tailor couldn't bite through the ZMan, with 10x tough ElaZtech construction for extreme durability.

No more than a minute after, I hooked up to a decent bream that gave me a workout on the light line. It was hooked perfectly in the corner of the jaw so he wasn't getting away, measuring in at 35cm. We continued our drift and picked up a few smaller bream, then a move to the other side of the flat was on the agenda, so that's where we headed. Not long after arriving a good sized flathead was connected to the end of my line and my reel started screaming! A few minutes later a 56cm lizard was netted and after a couple of quick photos was released to fight another day. About ten minutes later I turned around to see tailor busting up small baitfish and then my ZMan was crunched by what I assumed a decent fish, so I played it slow and a respectable 38cm bream was in the net. We continued drifting and picked up a lot of little fatties and bream but nothing worth writing home about.

The gear that we used were Shimano 1000 Stradics and Sustains matched on G-Loomis 2-6lb GL2's and Shimano 1-3kg Raiders. The braid spooled on the reels were 6lb Sunline Super PE and 3lb Stren Microfuse. The leader we opted with was 3 and 4 pound fluorocarbon and although it seems light, we find that you have to have it in the clear, shallow water. We have even landed max limit flatties on this light leader so it can be done, as long as you take your time and let them do what they want. There isn't really any structure on the flats so all you have to do is wait for the fish to tire and its all yours! The standout plastic we have found on the flats is the ZMan 2.5" GrubZ in Motor Oil, Bloodworm, Bubblegum, Copper Penny and Pumpkinseed colours and the jigheads we use are TT Lures 1/20oz through to 1/8oz, depending on tidal current and depth.

So head out onto your local flats with a packet of ZMan plastics and TT jigheads and it won't be long until you're connected to a fish of your own!

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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2017