• Platycephalus fuscus - Dusky Flathead
  • Platycephalus bassensis - Sand Flathead
  • Platycephalus richardsoni - Tiger Flathead

Overview Edit

Perhaps the tastiest fish that AKFFers pursue is the ubiquitous Flathead. Not known for being a great fighter, Flathead are ambush predators that will take a variety of baits and lures that are presented to them. Legal length in NSW ranges from 30cm, with only a single fish over 70cm allowed to be taken. Flathead are sequential hermaphrodites, in that all fish start life as males and then become females as they age. This process is called protandry. Since predation and other causes of death mean that many fewer fish live to the age of females, most AKFFers believe that all fish over 70cm (the size at which they become female) should be returned to breed, regardless of local regulations.

Flathead have very sharp spines on their gill covers which can cause a nasty infection. The bacteria that coats the spines also acts as an anticoagulant, making flathead spikings something to be avoided (especially on a kayak). The flesh of flathead is quite tasty, being a firm, white meat that is a favourite meal for Australians.

Tackle Edit

Flathead are not particularly fussy. They will take soft plastics, lures, bait, and even spinner baits.

Techniques Edit

Some of the more successful methods of catching flathead from a kayak include:

Flats on a run-out tide Edit

Just after high tide, flathead tend to congregate around areas that offer good ambush points for baitfish that are leaving an estuary system. Where water flows off a shallow sandbank, into deeper water (eg: a nice long ledge), flathead are likely to be hiding.

If the ledge is reasonably shallow (drops to 1-2m), then consider casting and retrieving a soft plastic (eg: Squidgy 'hot tail', Gulp 3 inch in pumpkinseed) into the shallow area, and back (slowly!) over the ledge. Gradually work your way along the ledge.

For deeper ledges, where the water drops to the 2-3m mark fairly quickly, consider trolling a 2-3m diving lure such as the SX40, the MicroMullet, or the Predatek MinMin (in 'fruit salad' colour) parallel to the ledge.

Water funnels Edit

Areas that concentrate flow are perfect ambush points for flathead, who take advantage of the baitfish funnel.

Here are two great examples on the Moruya River in southern NSW:,150.138785&spn=0.005831,0.006931&t=h&om=1 - The 'hole in the wall' funnels the water in the shallow area to the east out to the main river.,150.107821&spn=0.002916,0.003465&t=k&om=1 - The culvert provides a very narrow path for fish to pass through.

Run-In Rush Edit

Just on the change of tide, near the entrance to an estuary system, you tend to get a reasonably sudden shift. This often results in water that is still (slowly) trying to get out, meeting the fast in-rushing water. This generally creates a fairly large area of 'disturbed' water where the darker/murkier outflow, meets the crystal clear inflow.

This junction is often patrolled by a variety of fish, including the big flathead, who use the cover of the murkier water to dart out and catch unsuspecting fish that are entering on the run-in tide.

Flatty Flats Edit

Flathead will often sit in the middle of large sandbanks. Casting and retrieving poppers along these flats can often produce results, when diving lures won't work, and soft plastics just scare the flathead away.

A face only a mother could love. A Dusky Flathead taken from Drummoyne on a 2" SP
Squidder with a flatty from Tuross in southern NSW
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.