Flathead are readily available for fishing around Australia’s coastline and they are a great fish to go after if you want to increase your chances of bringing home a meal. They are a great fish to go after if you are a little new to fishing.

Flatfish are a great tasting fish too, which you wouldn’t think was the case by looking at them.

With over 30 different species of Flathead, there are just about 2-3 species available anywhere you cast a line on the coast. In the northern and western regions of Australia, you are most likely to end up with Bartail Flathead on the end of your line. Down in the south, you are more likely to catch Blue Spot, Rock, Sand and Tiger Flathead.

Flathead are commonly found in estuaries. To target Flathead, look no further than the estuaries and beaches that lead off those river mouths. Flathead are generally found around weedy edges, sand flats and any other obvious structure.


Flathead are a bottom dwelling fish. They are opportunistic predators and tend to lie in wait for their prey. They can move over a short distance very well. That means they are easily attracted by something bobbing or moving by them and will launch off the bottom to catch it in a real flurry. Their mouth is quite large, which makes it perfect for one-way traffic.

Flathead can be taken on a wide variety of baitfish, as well as prawns, squid and worms. They’ll take just about anything that is put their way but I like to work with lures, especially considering they last longer when I am casting and retrieving as I am about to explain.


I find I get great results with soft plastics, ranging from 7-12cm. Shads and curly tailed grubs rigged on a 7-14g jighead are great at doing the job with a fluorocarbon leader and a braid mainline. There’s no coincidence that Flathead are often high on the catch list of those new to lure fishing. I’ve also found the colour of the lure isn’t really that much of an issue. I generally go with natural colour tones in clearer water and brighter colour tones in murky or darker conditions.

The trick to catching Flathead is to keep your bait or lure on the move. This is particularly easy when fishing from a boat, canoe or kayak by drifting with the wind or the tide. If you are fishing from the land, you can get the same effect by slowly retrieving your line.

I’ve found that ensuring my artificial bait stays within about a metre of the bottom at all times just about guarantees success. I let my lure sink to the bottom and give it a good flick on the rod and retrieve the slack line. Don’t be afraid to let that lure bounce along the bottom either. A lure that is hitting the sand or mud is very likely one that attracts the attention of even the most lethargic Flathead.

Keep that lure action going and keep it close to the bottom and you there is a very high chance you will bring home plenty of Flathead for the freezer, I kid you not.


Is there anything we can add to this article? Share your experience through the comments section below.

Robert M Davies

Robert passed the "Obsessed With Fishing Test" with flying colours. Instead of talking, Robert has turned his hand to writing about his experience in fishing all around Australia.