Flathead Lure Fishing: Analysing Flathead Behaviour

Interested in how Flathead react to your lure? Let's take a close look, using videos, at Flathead Lure Fishing and the behaviour of flathead.

Scientific Name: Platycephalus sp
(16 species in Australia)

A lot can be learned about Flathead Lure Fishing by simply looking at how flathead behave around lures.

Over the years I’ve developed a mental movie that I play in my head when spinning a lure. Based on what I know about flathead behaviour.

That’s what I’m encouraging you to develop. It will help you understand and predict how, why and when flathead reacts the way they do. Improving your fishing.

Two kinds of flathead lures are presented in these videos. Hardbody and soft plastic. The flatheads reaction to either in the same situation is likely to be no different.

So, if you’re trying to learn more about flathead behaviour join with me as we take a look at some boat over the shallows and deeper water tow-cam video footage -and then analyse the results.

Note on the second video. The lure is being trolled behind a boat at speed. You would not spin a lure for flathead fishing this fast in reality. I’m using it because it is such an excellent example of an ambush predator like a flathead doing its thing.

I’ll break down each video with the salient points to look for. Then – watch the video for yourself. Because, if anybody ever tells you flathead are “slow” and they “don’t put in much effort chasing a lure” then you’ll know better than them.

OK? Let’s go…

In these videos, the lure rarely slows down. This is a great way for the video to generate a number of different responses from flathead.

For real fishing, however, you would need to let your retrieve speed vary, slowing right down, even a short stop in order to get a hookup.

Retrieve Speed: Very Fast Retrieves Unnecessary When Flathead Lure Fishing

Note there are two flathead in this scene.

This video, using a soft plastic lure, shows two things very well.

The first – a fast retrieve isn’t necessary.

In the video the angler is simply moving the lure slowly. Like a fish out doing its thing.

Several Toadfish approach the lure. Obviously considering a strike.

A flathead swims up, approaches the lure between two toadfish – and swallows the the lure. Swimming off.

The second thing it shows us is that while the toadfish were very interested – and the smaller flathead takes the lure – the slightly larger flathead showed very little interest.


It’s possible one of more of several things are in play with larger flattie.

The first is – it possibly saw the angler with the rod, dangling the lure – and figured “nope – just nope!”

The second possibility is it had sated it’s appetite and the small, slow moving minnow lure simply didn’t trigger and “attack and eat” response.

The third is this particular flathead is lure shy. It may have been hooked before.

Finally, I’d suggest, it’s possible the larger fish was watching the lure. Processing various signals and hadn’t decided to strike, before the smaller flathead moved in and gulped it down.

One interesting note here. The fact that the competition present didn’t deter the flathead from taking the lure. In fact it’s possible it increased its desire to bit.

The toadfish mouths were large enough to tackle the minnow lure. But they hung back. Keenly interested. The flathead, however, swam right in, grabbed and then chomped down several times before moving off with the lure.

Substrate Hugging Stalking Behaviour Of Flathead

First and foremost, in each of these videos, you’re going to notice how the flathead swim close or hug the substrate.

The “substrate” meaning the sand, mud or other sea floors.

Essentially as the hardbody lure in this video is retrieved the flathead spots it and reacts almost immediately.

Erupting out of the sand. It begins to pursue the lure. All the while swimming inches from the sandy bottom.

You can really appreciate the power and speed of the fish by looking at the video and seeing the clouds of sand as it moves out of it’s hiding place

Then as it moves through the water the clouds of sand in the wake of the flathead compared to the lure.

As it nears the lure it begins to arrange itself for the ideal position to strike.

A few lighter strikes, culminating in a serious, fast, aggressive strike.

Finally: Develop A Mental Flathead Movie In Your Mind As You Fish

I hope you enjoyed both of these videos and will use them as the basis upon which to picture how flathead behave when you’re using lures.

A call this my “mental flathead movie.”

I develop one for every fish species I target. Freshwater or saltwater.

My mental flathead movie includes elements you’ve seen in these videos. Which is why I’ve chosen them. Study these and others.

It will help you catch more flathead!

I’ve included a few more bonus videos taken using the tow-camera technique.

Have fun!

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.