Flathead Fishing Tips

My best flathead fishing tips are to learn more about flathead because no one flathead fishing tip is enough. Here are some ways you can use.

Scientific Name: Platycephalus sp (16 species in Australia)

Giving you flathead fishing tips has to come with some caveats. That’s because not everything you read about catching this popular species online is always completely correct. Hard and fast rules aren’t nearly as rigid as some folks will have you think.

I’ve caught flathead at high tide, low tide and even slack tide. I’ve used bright shiny lures. Whitebait, Blue bait, Pilchards, Prawns, Pippies and squid. I’ve used soft plastics. I’ve used running sinkers, paternosters and even floats.

Flathead Fishing  Tips

Before getting into flathead fishing tips dealing with how to catch them a word of warning about Australian flathead.

Just behind their gill plates, they have spines that carry a mild venom. It isn’t likely to kill you but it can hurt like crazy. Especially if it slices open or stabs an unwary hand or foot.

Their teeth are worth being cautious of too. So take care of handling them!

Finally – a quick word on conservation. Please obey the local size and/or bag limits of the state you are fishing in. They are there to help make sure the species continues to be there for the future.

There is some fisho’s who state that you should not take flathead specimens over 70cm because these are the females that will spawn. The intention is a good one, but the science, however, doesn’t back this up. Midsized females between 50 to 60cm reproduce. Females over 70cm are past reproduction – kind of like menopause.

Patience Is A Virtue In Flathead Fishing

In fishing, I pretty much adhere to the principle that patience is a virtue. This would have to be the most important of the flathead fishing tips here in my opinion.

If after a few casts you’re not getting bites you’ve got to ask yourself.

  • Am I using the right bait or lure?
  • Is my tackle right?
  • Should it be on the seabed and running? 
  • Paternoster style? Floating?
  • Bait kind?
  • What’s visible in the local environment?
  • Can I see any sea life? Like bait fish?
Paternoster Rig

Am I using Berley (chum) or just hoping a fish will swim by at the right moment?

Then there’s the location. Is it daytime and to shallow? Is there any structure for the fish to seek protection? Has there been a flush of fresh water from a nearby estuary after heavy rain?

We will take a look at environments for pier, beach and estuary a little further down.

Suffice to say, hard and fast rules are limits we place on ourselves, not the fish.

Experimentation is key. I’ve caught flathead in a boat with a bare hook. Causing some of my friends to dub them “Kamikaze Fish.”

So the flathead fishing tips to grab hold of here is to be prepared to ask yourself questions about the environment at your fishing location.

Carnivores – Sight, Vibration & Smell Are Important

The flathead is a carnivore. So they hunt by sight, vibration and smell.

So experience shows the more you can appeal to each of these senses the better your chances of catching a flathead.

This is why I use a variety of baits, lures, rigs, berley and attractants.

Flathead Fishing Tips: Look For Where The Baitfish Are Gathering

Flathead Fishing Tips: Look For Where The Baitfish Are Gathering
Look For Where The Baitfish Are Gathering

You wouldn’t go to your local fishing tackle shop if you wanted something to eat. Right?

Well, flathead are no different. They’re going to be where they are most likely to find a feed.

By seeking out schooling baitfish you increase your chances of catching flathead. This is one of those flathead fishing tips that is easily overlooked.

There are several ways of looking for baitfish.

  • Look into the water. Are their schools of small fish?
  • Look for seabirds circling around stretches of water.
  • Look for sandy areas surrounded by cover like seagrasses or other structure
  • Can’t find any baitfish? Get some berley going and bring them in to you!

Doing this not only allows you to see where predators like flathead are likely to be waiting. But it also allows you to try and “match the hatch.”

Matching the hatch is a phrase that means using bait and lures that closely match the available food. The available food is most likely what the fish are feeding on. So if it’s baitfish then a soft plastic fish pattern might be the go. The same for natural baits. Whitebait, bluebait and pilchards may work better on that day than say prawns or squid and pippies.

My Personal Best Of All Flathead Fishing Tips

Also, as you learn more about flathead fishing, please keep in mind that you are better off targeting a single species. Trying to catch anything that swims by is more likely to leave you empty-handed at the end of the day.

This goes for any species. If it’s flathead you want – focus on tackle, lures and bait for flathead. Don’t try and catch flathead and hope to catch bream. Same goes for species like whiting. Focus on the flatties. If something else that’s good happens to take your offering – be happy with your good luck.

This last thought is probably the strongest flathead fishing tip I can give you. Focus on flathead if it’s flathead you want to catch.

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.