Our beloved dusky flathead are appreciated for many reasons, and one of those reasons is their receptiveness to a variety of techniques. One of those techniques, which might these days be considered a bit ‘old school’, is casting hardbodies in shallow water. While this has been a trusted practise since Vic McCristal first started writing about it in the 1960s, it still works incredibly well, and is a fun way to catch one of our favourite estuary predators.
In those days, metal bibbed divers such as Bellbrooks and Rapala CDs would be tossed across shallow flats and jerked into the bottom, sending clouds of sand through the water and calling in flathead from afar. Interestingly, this basic formula hasn’t changed much. The only thing that has changed is the gear! These days, light graphic rods have replaced the fibreglass, while high-quality spin reels with ball bearings have superseded the clunky but trusted reels of old. Of course, lures have come a long way since the ‘60s too, and in today’s world we have a huge range of life-like hardbodies with clear bibs and scale patterns on them to imitate the flathead’s quarry.
The Daiwa Pro Double Clutch IZM Hard Body Lure, Atomic Hardz Shad 50mm Mid Diver Hard Body Lure, and Bassday Sugar Minnow Slim Suspending 70mm Hard Body Lure are great starters. With these lures, you’ll be able to cover water quickly as you mooch across the flats, making regular contact with the bottom. If you keep at it, you simply can’t miss with flathead. They will be onto it sooner or later.
With this sort of fishing, it makes sense to use spin gear in the 2-6kg range, which will allow you to throw light lures but also handle a bite from a larger 80cm+ model, should you be lucky enough.
The estuarine flat systems of Moreton Bay, Gold Coast, Tweed, Yamba, the Haweksbury and Gippsland are perfect for this hunting style of fishing. Many of the smaller lesser known estuary systems will offer great hardbody opportunity for flathead too!
Don’t discount hardbodies as a casting lure for flathead. It may be old school, but this technique still works and has provided anglers with many memorable catches over the decades. It has already stood the test of time, so what are you waiting for?
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