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Landbased Flathead on FrogZ

By Sean Bekkers

So, after heading down to a stretch of water to do some landbased fishing and filming the other day, I found that all of the spots that I wanted to fish were taken. Initially I was a little frustrated, however I decided to try my luck in some shallow water, instead of my usual deeper edges that have produced fish in the past. On that trip I was running 1/4oz TT Lures jighead paired with a ZMan 3" MinnowZ. Although I caught a fish or two, I felt that I didn't get it quite right in terms of covering the area effectively, to really see what was holding in the shallow water.

This got me thinking about a plastic that I have used when chasing flathead in the super-shallow water that is just covering the weed banks. This little game changer presentation is none other than the ZMan 2.75" Finesse FrogZ, in Watermelon Chartreuse colour to be exact. After checking for a late afternoon low tide, I have pencilled in a couple of days to head back and try my luck.

There is no arguing that a humble ZMan FrogZ might not be your first choice when selecting a flathead presentation and if I'm being honest it's not mine either. However, that being said, it's definitely got a place in you flathead line up. Straight up I tend to throw the 2.75" Finesse Frogz rather than its larger brother, the 4" Hard Leg FrogZ, the main reason being that there is a lot of other species that take a liking to the smaller FrogZ, including bream, trevally and mulloway, just to name a few.

Looking at the Finesse FrogZ it is quite a flat presentation, with a rather wide body and the obvious two legs hanging out the back. It also has the awesomeness of being constructed from ZMan's ElaZtech material, which makes it super buoyant and an excellent surface / sub surface presentation. Check out the attached photo of it in the fish tank and you can see that even on the TT Lures SnakelockZ the hook is floating up off the bottom and the lure is in the face of the fish.

Rigging up for a landbased session, I opt for the TT Lures SnakelockZ weedless jighead in a 2/0 hook size, in either a 1/8oz or 1/4oz, remembering that the water I am intending to fish is shallow, so I don't need a lot of weight. The reason I select a SnakelockZ is that, apart from being weedless, on each pause the FrogZ will stand up and float in the current, representing a fish burying its head in the sand. You could argue that other ZMan profiles might be more buoyant, however for me the ZMan Finesse FrogZ gets the results. If you need convincing that this versatile little plastic is worth having in your kit, jump on the Tackle Tactics website and look at what the Pro Team target when using them up north.

So, the very next opportunity that I had to get back down to the shallow water I ended up missing the run out to low and the tide was already on the way back in. Not ideal, nevertheless I was keen to give it a go. The shallow water in this area tends to hold a lot of bait, including everything from mullet to small baitfish, prawns and yabbies. There's definitely a smorgasbord to choose from for the predatory fish.

Once at the water's edge, I systematically and repeatedly cast from the edge on the left bank, working around to the edge on the right hand bank, in an effort to cover as much ground as possible. I also change up my retrieve until I get settled on one that is getting the attention. It wasn't long until I had dialled in a fish, with the standard hop and pause doing the trick.

After a few casts I came across a flathead that was repeatedly attacking the FrogZ but I couldn't quite get the hook up. Second cast back into that spot and again this angry fish was all over it, nearly tearing the FrogZ off the hook. On the third cast though I got the hook up. It was great to see my plan fall into place and it is worth noting that I had forgot my Pro-Cure scent on this trip, so it was definitely all FrogZ. As I mentioned earlier I had missed the tide and with sunset fast approaching I called it a day... while also deciding I needed another session J.

Session two and this time I lined everything up nicely. About an hour of run out tide left until low and I had remembered my Pro-Cure, Sardine / Pilchard Super Gel to be exact. Like last time, I went to the edge and systematically cast around, this time using a 1/8oz 2/0 TT Lures SnakelockZ jighead. It didn't take long for me to pick up from where I had left off, nailing a fish in the first few casts.

I had to be a little more patient to get my second fish and I was starting to get a little concerned that there wasn't any others around. As luck would have it, I hooked another. Looking over to the other side of the bank, I could see a lot of bait just sitting around. It was out of range on my cast with the 1/8oz SnakelockZ, so I opted to step up to a 1/4oz, allowing me to reach a little further on each cast. It's worth mentioning that I was catching flathead ranging from 30 to 50cm.

First cast out with the 1/4oz, a pause or two later and I was onto another 40ish centimetre fish. I sent him on his way and cast out again. BOOM, another climbed on! At this stage I was feeling pretty stoked as this little presentation was killing it. Once again, that one was landed and then on its way. It was time for a hat trick.

I cast out again and BOOM, on again, except this time it wasn't the antics of a small fish. This fish had some weight. It's been a minute since I've caught a respectable fish, especially land based, so after a few nice runs and solid headshakes I beached a respectable fish of around 70cm. I am approximating as I didn't have a brag mat with me and needed to measure it on my fishing rod.

What a great way to round out a landbased session and it's safe to say that I was stoked with the flathead that the ZMan 2.75" Finesse FrogZ had produced from the shallow water. I sent her on her way and decided to head for home on a high. I went down a few days later with my daughter Kaitlin and we whacked some more as we had 40 minutes to kill and the tide was too good to pass up.

If you're keen to try something a little different and not quite sure what to grab when standing in your local tackle store, give the ZMan 2.75" Finesse FrogZ a swim. They're not just a freshwater or topwater presentation that's for sure and they will produce some fantastic results on a stack of species... and especially on the flathead.

Screaming Dragz...

Sean's Tackle Box

Okuma Cerros Spin Rods - CER-S-701ML 7' 2-4kg
Okuma Epixor XT Spin Reels - EPXT-30
ZMan 2.75" Finesse FrogZ - Watermelon Chartreuse
Platypus Platinum Braid - 10lb
Platypus Stealth FC Fluorocarbon Leader - 15lb
Procure Pilchard Super Gel Scent