Flathead Estuary Fishing

Fishing Estuaries for flatties is extremely worthwhile. In larger river systems, like the Hawkesbury in NSW or the Yarra in Victoria, the fish range quite a distance inland within the estuary system.For example, in the Yarra, flatties can be found, at times, as far upstream as the eastern part of the city. Several kilometres from where the mouth of the river empties into Port Phillip Bay.In smaller estuaries, depending on the tidal flow, they may not range as far upstream.

Scientific Name: Platycephalus sp (16 species in Australia)

Unless you’re needing to cast incredible distances for some reason you can generally use estuary rods up to around 8 or 9-foot in length for flathead estuary fishing.

One of the reasons estuaries can make for great flathead fishing is many fish species use the estuary systems as nurseries. Therefore providing many smaller fish feeding opportunites.

Also, estuaries most often form part of a freshwater river or creek system. Food is often washed down from higher reaches into the mouth. Providing more opportunities for fish to feed.

The usual flathead baits and lures work just as well here. Prawns, baitfish even sand or beach worms.

Good spots are often where the estuary has sandy beaches. Cast out into the channels and gutters. The turning tide is an excellent time to try.

Dusk & Dawn, Top Times

The larger flathead specimens are more likely to move in closer to shore after dusk and before dawn.

Berley and attractant is a must when flathead estuary fishing. See the next section where I explain some of the reasons I always use these tools. Suffice to say for now this is what gets the fish in closer to where you are and helps create some interest.

berley fishing

Because estuaries are such changeable environments there are times when flathead estuary fishing is going to be better – or worse.

For example, during and after a flood there’s often murkier and fresher water in the estuary. The tide is going to wash less salty water into the system. That can result in fewer flathead in the river. Naturally, this depends on the estuary. It seems to be a bigger problem in the southern states than northern states.

Flathead Estuary Fishing Environmental Considerations

You need to also consider the environment itself. Pollution levels from chemical spills. How clogged up the estuary gets. Weeds and more importantly silt can block the flow of the system. Because of this, some estuaries can remain landlocked for part of the year.

The Powlett river at Kilcunda is a good example of this. I’ve never caught a single flathead there. Though I’ve caught small Australian salmon. The Powlett estuary is frequently obstructed by a sandbar. When it does run it often does so over an exposed rock shelf that limits the amount of tidal water that enters the area.

Back To: Flathead Fishing: The Ultimate Guide



I'm Dave, I live and fish in and around Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
When it comes to fishing I love going out to land-based fishing spots, heading out in the tinny (aka an Aluminum Boat) and kayak fishing.

I've been fishing since I was a teen. Beginning way back in the 1970s. It was a hobby I picked up myself as my family certainly had no interest. Making me the black sheep! My favourite fish is Flathead and Snapper. Though I'm partial to Flake (Gummy Shark) and Calamari too! While I enjoy fishing for freshwater species like Redfin and Murray Cod I prefer eating saltwater species. They're just so mouth-wateringly tasty!

I love writing about some of my favourite Melbourne Fishing Spots while fishing around Victoria. As well as the tackle I use and test.
If you see me while you're out fishing say "G' day" - I'll be the one in a bush hat.

When I'm not fishing I'm working on my websites, such as Getfished, or writing computer software (my profession.)

I try to be as accurate as possible on this website. Most of the information is based on personal experience. However, if you spot an error or think there's something that I should add - no worries! Please use the Contact Form.