How to catch a Flathead?

Flathead is some of the best quality eating fish found in waterways of Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria. Often referred to as Flatties, frogs, and lizards due to its appearance.

These guys can grow up to 120 cm and weigh up to an enormous 13 kg. Generally, females grow much faster in comparison to males. A 5-year-old male Flaty would be an average 42 cm while on the other hand, a female will average 59 cm.

Flathead is a great fishing fish for any land-based angler and is known to be an ambush predator. Often dwelling on the bottom waiting for an unsuspected prey to swim by.



Flathead can be found in a number of different locations including brackish waters in estuaries and river mouths as well as beaches and headlands.

As they are an ambush predator look for sandbank drop-offs, gutters, drains, and channels to target these guys. Often they are found in sandy or muddy bottoms around weed beds.


Best time of day and tide

Fatties can be caught throughout the day, but the best tide to catch these guys is during a runout tide when a majority of bait fish are forced to flee to deeper waters. During this time, fish near sandbank drop-offs, gutters, and channels. Often you’ll find flatties to be laying in wait.


What type of set-up should you use?

When targeting Flathead a light set-up will be your best bet. Rods in the 6′-7′ and 2 kg-6 kg will work well paired up with a 1000-4000 size spin reel. Spool this up with either a 6-10 lb braid or 10-12 lb mono-filament mainline and if opting for braid use a 4-10lb fluorocarbon leader line.



Generally, when bait fishing for Flathead a running sinker (pictured below) will work well or for that little bit extra sensitivity use the modified version. Opt for either a circle, octopus or suicide hook. Size-dependent on the bait.

A lot of different baits can be used as Flatties will take anything from my experience. But remember the bigger the bait the bigger the fish. Use anything from cut fish bait such as mullet, Pilchard or whitebait. Prawns, squid, sandworms, and chicken work well too.




As flatheads are bottom dwellers and ambush predators lure fishing will be the best option as you can cover more ground. If you can get a tempting lure in front of these guys often this will result in a hook-up.

Soft plastics, in my opinion, work best. Anything that resembles baitfish or sandworms will do the trick. Fish using a slow retrieve with pauses work well or change up your technique to something more erratic to imitate an injured baitfish.


Legal catch limit and sizes

Flathead catch limits and size guide is best checked from state to state as some regulations may vary.

But for us, Victorians, as advised from VFA ‘Victorian fisheries Authority’ a minimum legal size of 27 cm is present, while for Dusky Flathead a minimum of 30 cm is required and a maximum of 55 cm.


Flathead (All species)

Information and Image referenced from VFA ‘Victorian Fisheries Authority’


Dusky Flathead

Information and Image referenced from VFA ‘Victorian Fisheries Authority’


Distinguishing Features

Information and Image referenced from VFA ‘Victorian Fisheries Authority’

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