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Spring brings on the lizards
  |  First Published: September 2016



Anglers love this time of year. Flathead season is in full swing and they’ll be everywhere, all month long. The pick spots to try for flatties in September are the dead trees at the bottom of North Straddie in the deep water, all the way along Kalinga Bank and the main channels towards the bar. That’s where most of the fish will congregate, looking to spawn and will be hungry for a feed.

They can be caught on any part of the tide but they feed more on the last of the run-in, and the first of the run-out tide. Being an ambush predator, flathead sit camouflaged facing the tide, waiting for a meal to swim past. Bounce your baits or soft plastics along the bottom and the flatties will do the rest. Present your baits well, so they look as natural as possible, not spinning in the current. You’ll improve your catch rate.

If you’re handy with the cast net, using live baits is very effective for lizards. Livies can be found in creek mouths, run-off drains and shallow water close to the bank or mangroves. Poddy mullet, banana prawns, herring and diver whiting are top baits for landing a decent flathead. They also love fresh baits like whitebait, pillies, prawns and mullet. Soft plastics produce great fish too, any size from 3-5” will entice a flathead. A variety of colours work well. Just chop and change until you get some success.

I’ve had good results on 4-5” white and silver flecked shads, with a slow lift and retrieve action. Use jigheads that suit conditions and allow you to get to the bottom. The current runs quickly most days at the ‘Pin – you need to be on the bottom where the fish are the most popular sizes that should get you in the strike zone are 1/4 or 1/2oz. Persistence pays, so stick with it and your results will improve.

Tailor have been moving along the coast to feed on schools of bait. Keep an eye out for them chopping up the surface. Poppers, metal lures and soft plastics are all working well with a fast retrieve. These toothy critters are murder on the plastics and will quite often take the plastic clean off the jighead. This can prove an expensive way to fish. Hit the gutters off the beach of South Straddie in the late afternoon for tailor, dart or sea bream.

Bigger fish will move in after dark. There’s always a chance of scoring a mulloway off the beach as well. Bream are available throughout the year, and during September they hit the mangrove-lined banks, deep holes and rock walls. Hot spots to try are Little Rocky Point, Cobby Passage, the Five Ways, Kalinga Bank and the north wall of the Seaway.

Flesh baits like bonito and mullet fillets are great, because they hold the hook better than yabbies or prawns, which are easily picked off. Some fantastic whiting should be show up from the Logan River near Ageston Sands, the Junction and Marks Rocks. Out of the river, the Never Fail Islands, Tipplers Island, Tiger Mullet Channel, the Gold Bank and Flatrock should all be firing through September. Grab some bloodworms or yabbies and chase a feed of sweet tasty whiting.

Mulloway up to 15kg have been caught in the river near Marks Rocks and the Gazebo, but most have only been schoolies. A few larger ones come from the bar, the point of Short Island and Kalinga Bank. Livies are the best baits. Try large slabs of mullet fillets, tailor fillets or bonito.

1

This 50cm lizard couldn’t resist this black Zerek Tango Shad.

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The author picked up this 40cm tailor trolling for flatties near Slipping Sands.

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Richie out-fished the author with some quality flatties. They caught 15 in total that day.

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