FLATHEAD RIG TIPS FOR BAIT OR LURES
Australia's obsession with chasing flathead is genuinely phenomenal. It's a love affair that never got old as we've continued to dream about hooking the meter plus monster lizard.
Of course, we're talking about the famous dusky flathead. While there are several species of flathead, our focus in this article is on the dusky.
The dusky inhabits waters from the tip of Cape York to the west of Wilson's promontory, the Australian mainland's most southern point. They're available in significant numbers inshore and nearshore, from the beach to the brackish.
Something the average angler may not realise is that the dusky can reach a length of 1.2 meters and weigh as much as 10kg. While flathead of these dimensions might be rare, they exist. To catch one, all you need is the right flathead rig.
Keep in mind that there are various flathead species Australia wide. The flathead rigs we're discussing here will, by and large, suit most flathead species.
There's more than one approach to catching flathead. While flathead rigs can vary significantly, we believe in keeping things as simple as possible.
At the fishing tackle shop, we have a selection of ready to cast flathead rigs for sale that will save you time and money.
Our selection of line, leader and terminal tackle is also extensive, providing flathead anglers plenty of options for refining and tailoring their flathead rigs.
The fishing tackle shop is the home of lures, so, needless to say, we have an impressive selection of flathead lures for sale that will lift your catch numbers.
Let's have a look at a few good flathead rigs. You may feel that there's nothing left to write or reveal about our favourite pastime species, but revisiting basics is a great way to improve your catch.
Proven flathead rigs and solid terminal tackle is a must for increasing your flathead catch. The beauty of flathead rigs and lures is that rigging with quality is very accessible to even the tightest of budgets.
Let's rig for flathead.
Ready to Cast Rigs
A Pre-made flathead rig comes supplied ready to attach to your mainline. Often a favourite with novice anglers and weekend danglers, these flathead rigs take out a lot of the guesswork and rigging. One knot is all that's required.
Pre-made flathead rigs are at the heart of simplicity. With one knot and no decisions to make, fishing for flathead has never been easier.
Each rig assembled by an expert includes quality, sharp hooks, with swivel and sinker.
The pre-made rig is not for every angler by any stretch. However, the rigs remain well-liked for those convenience anglers hunting flathead.
Making your own Flathead Rig
Most anglers choose to make their own flathead rigs. Rig specifics get determined by the location, size of the target, size, and type of bait, and other considerations including ocean, wind and weather conditions.
3 very simple rigs are always successful when targeting flathead. 1 and 2 are for flesh and /or live baits, and you can use them in every location in just about any conditions.
The third flathead rig is for lures, both soft plastics, and hard body. Remember, we're keeping things as simple as we can. Let's not overthink it; the flathead certainly don't.
1.Classic Flathead Rig for flesh or dead bait for mono mains
Run a sinker weighted to conditions down to a swivel. Connect a 60cm leader to your swivel and a hook to the end of the leader. Yep, Simple.
Size can vary and is driven mostly by bait size and the size of the fish you're hunting. Usually, size 2 to size 5/0 will be the range. Remember, these guys have big mouths.
Anglers have their particular preferences for hook style, but it will depend on bait. A long shank will be excellent for worms and strip baits.
A long shank also affords a little more protection from flathead teeth – they make a mess of your leader, and who hasn't lost a flatty to its leader grinding head shakes.
Of course, the suicide and circle style hooks are terrific – circle, especially if you plan a release. The circle or suicide hook profile will work effortlessly for many styles of flesh baits, especially whole dead fish such as whitebait, poddy mullet and squid.
Make sure you prepare your kit with decent leader material. Whether you choose a mono leader or fluoro leader is personal preference. Excellent abrasion resistance is paramount.
Flathead are bottom dwellers, but also ambush predators. They will come up for a bait. It would be best if you got it down there though, so weight accordingly.
If there's a bit of current about, or if you're fishing the surf, choose a sinker that offers a little more surface area such as a bean. A ball will suffice in many circumstances.
Use as little weight as possible. It's a good rule of thumb for all fishing. Wind may require you to up the weight for casting purposes but again, only as much as you need.
There are several styles from which to choose. At Fishing Tackle Shop, we sell a few types, including brass barrel and crane in small handy size pre-packs. Alternatively, buy bulk swivels to suit your budget and save some cash.
For balanced rigs, try not to overdo it with size. Choose a swivel suitable for your line and leader class.
2.Classic Flathead Rig for Larger Live Baits for Mono Mainlines
While you can undoubtedly use rig number one above for live baits, casting poddy mullet, small slimy or yakka, is better with a few adjustments.
Use a leader about 1 meter long tied to the swivel as above. However, if you intend using weight, let it run to the hook.
For complete simplicity, proving you are using mono you can forget the swivel and leader altogether. Simply connect your hook to the mainline running your sinker to the hook (if needed).
While this is a brilliant and straightforward rig, it's not without its issues though. It's not suitable for thin diameter lines and braid.
Without a decent leader, theirs a very high risk, you will be bitten off. Usually, seconds before you land it, as the flatty does it's last chance head shake. Devastating.
Keep in mind that without a swivel you may have some line twist to deal with aswell.
Despite these two considerations, this is a classic and potent rig for big flatties.
Depending on the size of your bait, 3/0 to 5/0 will do the trick. The best tip is to go super-sharp, quality hooks. Suicide, light gauge live bait, and circle hooks are brilliant here.
Just remember, the worst thing you can do is use a hook too small or too large for the bait. Presentation is everything; therefore, balance is everything.
Again, mono or fluorocarbon is a personal choice, but this is not the place to argue the pros and cons of each. In short, both are highly effective.
Abrasion resistance is king, but don't sacrifice on the supple feel as a flexible leader will deliver stronger knots and will also allow your bait to move more effortlessly and stay alive longer.
As per rig one.
3.Flathead Rig for Soft Plastics and Hardbody Lures
Run mono straight to your lure and connect with a loop knot for hardbody lures or blood knot for plastics. If your using braid, connect your main line to a fluorocarbon leader 60cm to 1 meter, then attach to the lure. Too easy.
Braid hails as the better choice for extracting peak performance from lures, particularly soft plastics.
However, mono will also extract a highly attractive action from your lures. Action and sensitivity diminish slightly as mono line class increases in strength. Please don't lose any sleep over it, however.
It's important not to overthink this. Flathead are a simple fish species. Use simple flathead rigs.
What lure to use for flathead?
It's rare to find a lure that flathead won't take, within reason, of course. Don't cast 300mm trolling skirts. Having said that, we reckon the cantankerous old flatty would still have a go at it.
Flathead are voracious predators that will attack anything that moves, or doesn't move, for that matter. They're a bit of a garbage gut and take just about anything. If it moves, however, as a lure does, they'll smash them.
At the fishing tackle shop, we have a lure section dedicated to flathead. It's a HUGE category, because flathead fancies everything from spinnerbaits, to soft plastics of all kinds, to barra lures, and blades.
Visit the fishing tackle shop’s flathead lures for sale section and go crazy. There's no need to spend a fortune. There is plenty of high quality, proven flathead lures that will weaponise your flathead rig.
Fishing weightless soft plastics is super fun, but not the go for flathead. You'll need weight; therefore you'll need a quality jig head.
Not so long ago, jig head selection was pretty straight forward. Now there's such a variety it can end up confusing.
The fishing tackle shop has a vast range of jig heads for sale that will enhance the action of your flathead rig. We're also happy to advise on a selection that will suit your desired flathead rig.
Again, simplicity. Don't overthink it. You want to get your plastic into the strike zone, looking natural. You'll likely be choosing a head-weighted or belly-weighted jig head. The belly weight is excellent for the shallows, and the head weight is ideal for the deep stuff.
The hook size is, and weight will be relative to the lure you are using. These days, many manufacturers will indicate the ideal jig head on the packet. It's a great place to start.
Don't be afraid to use a larger lure and a bigger jig head. Rule of thumb is that big fish like big lures — a good practice with flathead.
Flathead Rig Wrap-up
Solid basics should always be your default position for flathead success. Keep your rigs simple – traditional.
Our experts at the fishing tackle shop have a strong passion for grassroots fishing. It doesn't get more grassroots than chasing flatties.
Follow the links in this article and get familiar with everything you need to set up the perfect flathead rig.
Revisit the basics, put them in practice, and maybe your next session will see the meter-long lizard ticked off your bucket list.