Social Flathead Challenge II (Results and Trip Reports)

If you like competing in a friendly, low pressure setting then this is a great place to check out our social competitions
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Social Flathead Challenge II (Results and Trip Reports)

#1 Post by Leper » Tue Nov 30, 2010 9:01 pm

Well guys here are the results. Thanks again for participating. It makes for a great comp. to have so many people in it. It was a shame that for the second time weather and reluctant fish played a part but that's fishing. One of the things I have really noticed is that flathead really hate being measured and photographed and it gets worse as they get bigger.

Well done to stonecold for getting two great fish and to nitefr8 for his runnersup. Please post your trip reports here whether they contain or do not contain flathead.

Rank--Avatar--------STATE-----------Flathead 1-----------Flathead 2-------------Points
3----- Leper-------------QLD-----------------505--------------------495------------------1000
10-----Old Salty---------NSW-----------------620----------------------0-------------------620
14----Feral -------------QLD-------------------0------------------------0---------------------0
14----kreel --------------QLD-------------------0------------------------0---------------------0
14----mac 05-----------NSW-------------------0------------------------0---------------------0
14----pavo --------------NSW------------------0------------------------0---------------------0


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Re: Social Flathead Challenge II (Results and Trip Reports)

#2 Post by Leper » Tue Nov 30, 2010 9:13 pm

After having to change my Saturday morning trip due to two sick boys I was lucky enough to find a small window to cast a line on the Sunday. A 4AM start had me on the water by 5AM. It was a beautiful morning warm and humid with the clouds and rising sun creating a golden marbling in the sky. As I approached the creek I was happily surprised by the absence of any wind and a falling tide.
IMG_0126 (Medium).jpg
In eager anticipation I unloaded the yak and fitted it out. I had decided to be a bit adventurous and had changed my spool on my Sol to 4lb Fins braid and with 10lb leader to counter the sawing action of a head shaking flathead. As always I stuck to my standard Squidgie fish in the Gary Glitter pattern but had downsized to 70mm to ensure I managed a few fish before upgrading. I had also fitted out a trailing rod with a Squidgie wriggler in the blood worm colour.

The way I fish a creek for flathead is to fish gently sloping banks with particulry attention focussed at gutters and small creek mouths. On a dropping tide I have found consistent flathead holding beneath these natural drains waiting for hapless bait as they are forced to leave their safe haven On the tide change the drift is reversed and the same process is repeated as more often than not another flathead moves into these feeding zones.
IMG_0134 (Medium).jpg
After pushing off I began casting allowing the SP to settle to the bottom. A gentle few flicks of the rod had the lure back in the water column and a drop of the rod tip had it settle back down to the muddy floor. A few cranks had it swim along the bottom before repeating the whole process. Third cast in and I was on to a nice flathead with distinct head shaking and a few runs I had the 51cm fish into the net, measured, photographed and home. It was a nice start to the day.
IMG_0128 (Medium).jpg
I continued this technique as the current carried me downstream picking up a 32cm and 38cm flathead in a similar manner and within the first 20min of hitting the water. I reached a part of the creek that I knew had a rocky bottom (as I have been snagged here numerous times!) and found a new mangrove sapling had fallen into the water. A cast in front and a short way into the retrieve and I was picked up by a solid fish. The flathead headed for the middle of the creek, a behaviour that makes using 4lb a relatively safe option. With the rod fully loaded and a powerful surge the tension in the rod vanished and the fish swam to freedom. Bugger!

A short while later I reached the first of the drains and this one was one of the larger ones. These spots almost always hold a flathead but sometimes they are a bit lazy so numerous casts are required to raise them. The First couple of casts into the shallows yielded nothing but the third cast into deeper water copped a solid hit and the 1-3kg rod loaded up solidly. This was a cracking fish which promptly put its head down and powered towards the middle with the sweet sound of line peeling from the spool and then nothing. After the adrenalin fuelled realisation that this could have been a new PB and then the gut wrenching comprehension that another serious flathead was lost, an inevitable string of colourful language ensured. Not happy Jan!!!!
IMG_0130 (Medium).jpg
I continued the drift in the hope that another serious fish might be about. I had good reason to be optimistic as this had all occurred within the first 40min from launch. I continued this strategy for the next 40 minutes picking up a flathead on almost every gutter. I managed a number of slow upgrades with a 42cm and 46cm flathead being measured and photographed. Eventually I managed another 50+ flathead and I placed him on my 50cm brag mat. He managed to stretch over it and so I reached into that back to get the larger one. Of course at this point he decides to flip out and over the side he went. As you can imagine this resulted in another fit of cursing!!
IMG_0138 (Medium).jpg
IMG_0137 (Medium).jpg

At this point a gentle ripple on the water appeared and eventually became a nice little breeze. It was annoying but nut unfishable. I reached a point in the river that held a nice big log stretching out from the bank and so I threw in a speculative cast. Up went the rod tip and the down went the rod tip hard ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZZZ ….. and then that sensation of leader and timber meeting. I had forgotten I was using 4lb and that what I would call for a nice little cod had bricked me in a millisecond.

I turned back around casting back at the gutters again on my trip upstream. This yielded another couple of flathead, one being another upgrade at 49.5cm. With the tide about to turn the flathead switched off and I changed tactics. With the rising tide I typically fish bends where there is a strong current. These appear as areas built up with sand and debris and although the snag rate increases I often find flatties hiding among the debris. Reaching the first of the bends I realised the tide was not strong enough to create any eddies so I continued fishing the gutters. This yielded me a couple of rats but that was it.
IMG_0144 (Medium).jpg
The 10AM curfew arrived and I headed for home. I wasn’t too sure whether to be happy or not. The hits were plentiful and the bream were around in numbers too. I just can’t get out of my head that one fish and what could have been. Oh well that’s fishing!
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Re: Social Flathead Challenge II (Results and Trip Reports)

#3 Post by hillbilly » Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:55 pm

Firstly thanks to Brad for organising the challenge. The species at least was a fish that I have regularly caught on lures for the past thirty odd years or so. I have been so immersed in fly fishing and trying to catch bass on both lures and fly that I had forgotton how much I used to enjoy poking around the mud in the kayak.

Where did I fish? There's a Mangrove Island straight in front of the Gold Coast City Marina on the Coomera River where I had never fished before. I fished on Sunday and was on the water at about 6.45am ( near low tide) and off the water by about 11.00am. I did one circumference of the island for only three fish but did drop a couple of others, one of which felt reasonable but not huge.

In order they went 445mm, 505mm and 450mm.
Flathead 445mm.JPG
Flathead 505mm.JPG
Flathead 450mm.JPG
What did I use? A 4 inch pumpkinseed Gulp when there was little flow for the first fish and then a trimmed Squidgie with a heavier jig head when the current increased for the other two.
Gulp + Squidgie.JPG
I anchored in about three to five feet of water and cast mostly towards the bank and used a very slow retrieve with pauses. A small anchor helped keep the kayak exactly where I wanted it. I fired off a few casts, always up current to keep the lure down before moving on.
Small Anchor.JPG
Preaching to the converted??? Regards Bill
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Re: Social Flathead Challenge II (Results and Trip Reports)

#4 Post by Jen » Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:24 pm

Awesome reports guys. Great catches. You would be surprised at how much knowledge I got out of them both and not to mention how embarrassed I felt when I figured out what the jig heads were used for. You really don't want to know how I thought they were used and I thank god I have not used them yet :bb: So thanks again. Can't wait to read more

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Re: Social Flathead Challenge II (Results and Trip Reports)

#5 Post by Feral » Wed Dec 01, 2010 5:46 am

Thanks for organising the do brad, I managed to sneak out for an early morning session on saturday, the wind was blowing enough to make it uncomfortable, straight across the river, could not get in to position for more than a cast at a time, being blown to the bank by the time I retrieved! So spent most of my two hour session trolling, only managed one small silver flattie before I had to pack up shop and go to the boat club christmas party.

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Re: Social Flathead Challenge II (Results and Trip Reports)

#6 Post by michelle » Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:08 am

well once again the wind was against me, I got up early on Sunday to catch the run in tide bur it was choppy and the wind would have been annoying to say the least :snic: so a change of plan was called for.

The last of the run in further up the creek is supposed to be good for flattie I'm told so launched about 11.30, no wind noe and loooked good but the water was browner than I expected. Couldn't resist casting a few sammys near the racks but not a touch so changed over to plastics and still nothing.

I cast a 2" gulp shrimp in newpenny towards the bank and saw something take it as it hit the water :ha: I started winding and sure enough a fish :ll: but it was comonig towards me easy and staying down, as I brought it up I was surprised to see a VERY large flattie looking at me it took off when it saw me :mad1:
after another 10 mins I had it back and in the net but it a backward flip as I lifted the net and the line parted :ts: :ts: It would have been bigger than the 81cm I got recently.

I cast a few thousand more times foe nothing, not even a small touch, didn't matter gulp, powerbait, hardbodies, S factor, garlic I tried it all and NOTHING :ts:

still it was peacefull up there and only a slight breeze to keep the sandflies at bay. Noone in site as I explored a little creek just the cars in the distance then an all to familar noise - JETSKIES :ang: :ang: coming fast down this narrow creek WHY?????????? talk about no wash zone :ang: They got a shock to see me , it was pretty narrow, about 12' but the sounder was showing 2m but what idiots !!! They had to have come 10km up the creek to get to where I was.

Hours on the water in a spot I haven't fished much was good but all I got was a story of the one that got away :ts: :ts: I would have let her go = alls I wanted was a photo but she was camera shy I guess :snic: :snic:
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bream 38 cm soft plastic bream 40 cm sammy 65 black bream 41cm ZX
blackfish 42 cm on ZX flounder 28cm tailor 49.5cm snapper 39cm
flathead 81 cm whiting 41.5cm trevalley 47cm jewie 59.5cm
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Re: Social Flathead Challenge II (Results and Trip Reports)

#7 Post by nigel » Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:10 am

Ok well what a nice morning it turned out to be the wind was shocking through the night but droped off as predicted just before sun up met up with salty D mac o5 & Nitro & launched into the sunrise
then I got a monster biggest social comp fish so far (well ok only social comp fish so far :snic: )
1st flat.jpg
then another slightly better
2nd flat b.jpg
fished under tom uglys bridge
& variouse other locations well that was about it for the day but once again great company & great fun well done to all involved.

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Re: Social Flathead Challenge II (Results and Trip Reports)

#8 Post by silver19 » Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:22 am

Thanks to Brad for all his hard work in getting this up and running. As we were away having a good time sans computer I apologize to Brad for not really following the rules but as we didn`t disturb the scorer to much I put up a report and pics to show how NOT to fish a challenge.

We fished Yamba with the crew. You have all heard the tale "You should have been here yesterday". Well I have a slight variation "You should be here tomorrow".

We nominated Saturday as our day and we set off early in the morning catching a few Bream on poppers over the weed beds before switching to soft plastics. The tide was dropping so targeted the edges of the sandbanks and drop offs hoping to find the flatchaps. Dawn managed 2 small fatties of 30 cm that were put in to the to hard basket to photograph. :beat:

I managed 2 one of 35cm and the other 36cm.
Yamba 024 [800x600].jpg
Yamba 027 [800x600].jpg
As you can see my picture taking skills for comps need a bit of work. :md:
I`m glad it not for sheep stations.

Now to the best bit.

Went out the next morning,Sunday, fishing a small hard body Frenzy lure throwing it at the same sort of areas and managed to drag this one out of 30cm of water.
yamba dawn 012 [800x600].jpg
She was 70cm long and I guesstamate 35cm between the eyes (just kidding) and gave me a great fight before coming to the net. Had another three, one of which went 50cm all from the same area and all on small hardbodies. I`m glad after Saturday efforts at taking pics that I didn`t have to try to get the big girl on the Bragmat.

Before I had the big girl, Dawn dropped one that looked a lot bigger that wrapped the braid around the mirage fins before breaking off. :re:

Once again thanks to Brad and while I know this was not the way to do it I put the report up as to what might have been and in the spirit of the challenge of all good fun. :fg:
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Re: Social Flathead Challenge II (Results and Trip Reports)

#9 Post by slim » Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:36 am

Great work on the flathead guys, especially to Stone Cold, mate they are awesome fish.

As for me, well I nominated Saturday which in hindsight was a mistake as this was the day I was heading to Noosa to fish in a bream comp. I was having so much fun on the surface catching or missing bream as the case might be that I just never got time to throw a plastic. Well there is always next year.

Thanks an to Brad for running these comps, it takes a fair bit of organizing and mucking around so well done mate. Now bring on the next bass one LOL
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Re: Social Flathead Challenge II (Results and Trip Reports)

#10 Post by mcnphoto » Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:45 am

Ok my go,

I'm really new to kayaking, only been going a couple of weeks but I can really see the addiction what a hoot.

We set off on the manning just in from the old bar entrance around 9.30am on the tuesday, I kept putting off my day as the wind has been horrible up here and finnally managed to grab a goodish sort of morning with nominal wind and a dropping tide, we set off and drifted the bank in about 4 foot of water casting towards the shoreline. 3rd cast bang nothing to brag about around 30 but it was only my second fish from the kayak and I wasn't going to donut, ripper, I thought at least i can post something.

Kept on drifting down hit a few more with the biggest being another 30, so i photographed it and settled back knowing i wouldn't win but had two fish on the board and now it was time to go for upgrades. Floated down towards the next peer and got the first legal suckker 38, then i hit the big one, don't you just love it when they jump about 5 feet away from you give you a smile and a wink spit the hook and make that perfect re-entry knowing full well they just screwed your chances of being in with a shot and scoring 9's from all the judges she was over 50 but anyway it doesn't matter.

I hit the next keeper at the bottom of the tide and things went quiet, decided to change from the gulp minnow which had been serving me well up to that point to a big eye blade but still nothing more it was time to rack the ques.

I had a ball got 9 all up, only 2 keepers but hey first comp was just fantastic fun. Big thanks to Brad for getting this going and to everyone on the site for making me feel so welcome.

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Re: Social Flathead Challenge II (Results and Trip Reports)

#11 Post by robbo57 » Wed Dec 01, 2010 10:14 am

Launched from Grays Point on Monday about 6am. Wind and rain beat us from the start. Were drifting faster than I could paddle at times :ang: Managed to get into a sheltered bay for a while and had fun with schools of chopper tailor :ll: Even tho I got no flatties :ts: a big dohnut :ts: and got soaking wet :ts: I had a great couple of hours on the water. Have learnt a few things from the posts for next time. Thanks Brad for a very informative post and for the challenge. Well done. :bye:
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Re: Social Flathead Challenge II (Results and Trip Reports)

#12 Post by dishley » Wed Dec 01, 2010 2:49 pm

I wish this was a bream comp. I fished the Wednesday with Ol Salty and got a few small lizards and managed to pick up a thumper bream on a 4 inch Gulp Minnow and 12pd line. On the way back in i fished the rockwalls with an atomic as the wind was screaming along by this stage and was picking up bream consitently, some of which were nice fish indeed and a coupl eof little tackers including a fiesty little bream that was the size of my small diver.

As usual with these comps I had to forget something important, this time it was my camera :bb: So thanks Jeff for coming to the rescue. If you want me to upload the rest of the pics Jeff just let me know mate.
40cm Bream, where was this guy in the bream comp :sad1:
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Re: Social Flathead Challenge II (Results and Trip Reports)

#13 Post by Biggles » Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:05 pm

Nice work guys, I sure hope my roster reflects days off on the next one :bye:



Re: Social Flathead Challenge II (Results and Trip Reports)

#14 Post by dishley » Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:37 pm

Forgot to congratulate stonecold and nitefr8 on a great effort!! And once again well done to Brad for organising the whole shebang. It's a shame you didn't get a bit more time to participate mate and I hope you can nail those bigguns next time around.

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Re: Social Flathead Challenge II (Results and Trip Reports)

#15 Post by stonecold » Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:57 pm

Thanks KFDU for the opportunity to have a social fish and thanks for your organisational efforts Brad, unfortunately I couldnt make it down to Yamba to catch up with everyone there. Fingers crossed next time. Ive been on the road since Sunday so missed these results. I had planned an all day trip in search of big lizzards but in the end 2hrs was enough. Heres the rundown,

I had spent several trips trying to locate the bulk of the flatties and had done so with limited success, mostly small fish 30-45cm. I fear they had dispersed up river and I really didn’t have time to chase them down in the huge expanse of the Richmond. I had a mate who had fished around the ferry on several trips with reasonable success. He had landed a few dozen lizards over the week with one he estimated at 6kg. It’s a bit hard to tell from the picture, but if this bloke says it was 6kg then I believe him. That’s an 85mm squidgee in the corner of its mouth.
6kg lizzard - rabbi resize.jpg
Anyway cutting to the chase I decided to head back down river to a spot I know has big lizards regularly...see exhibit “A”
Ballina lizzards resized 2.jpg
Exhibit "A"

Water was a good colour and the tide was just peaking, shame about the 15-20knt NE blowing and annoying wind chop. Ahh well you gotta do what you gotta do. So set myself up....bugger the crates still sitting in the shed, no dramas got the paddle, net, lures, sounder, rods what else does a bloke need? Set off and found the spot I was looking for and remarkably the wind was actually helping.
The weapon of choice was a 110mm squidgee fish in silver fox with a 3/8oz jighead and 3/0 hook. Big lure for big fish! 2-4kg berkley dropshot pro, Daiwa tierra 2500 with 14lb braid and 17lb fluorocarbon leader. I prefer the slightly heavier line for this sort of fishing as I don’t really want to over stress the big girls with an extended fight.
In the beginning the wind was pushing me up river at a steady pace which made the drift a little difficult but bearable. After 20 minutes without a touch I was thinking the flats might be worth a go. No “stick to the plan son, stick to the plan”. Well that was when things changed dramatically to say the least. I picked up a 38ish cm lizard. Woohoo I’m on the board the pressures off, 2 casts later and I’m on again with a 45cm lizard in the net and alls good. I noticed the drift was slowing significantly as the run out tide had just began, the wind cancelling ut the tide and holding me almost stationary. I took the hook out of the 2nd flattie and left him in the net with the other one....(this “almost” proved disasterous). Lazy I know but with the crate and keeper net in the shed it was the best storage I had.
I positioned myself back over the prime spot and flicked the squidgee back up current. It bounced it along the ledge. Then a tap, much the same as a bream....I lifted the rod and felt solid weight, hang on this isn’t right. The “bream” took 15m of line and shook its head violently then took a further 10m against a stiff drag. Hmmmm this has got to be the mother of all lizards! The fight seesawed for 5 minutes with the fish slugging deep and hugging the bottom. There were more than a few nail bighting moments when I though the fish was going to find a ledge. Eventually the “mother of all lizards” slid up onto the flats and I remember thinking to myself “fish... you just failed” it’s only a matter of time now. I backed the drag off and continued. 2-3 mintues later and I got a glimpse of silver. Bugger me thats a pain, its suppose to be brown and shovel shaped. I won’t say it was an anti-climax because it’s my 1st yak landed jew. Here’s where I remember I still have 2 lizards in the net, they’re tangle up and not coming out so the jews just going to have to go in with them. A few tense moments and in goes the head with about 30cm of body, the rest dangerously hanging out of the net. Through angling skill (read as- "sheer arse") the fish stayed in and I slid it into the deck. Woohoo not what I was chasing but good by catch when you get it.
SP jew 26112010 resized.jpg
I’m thinking 75cm and 4kg, (later on the brag mat 77cm). How am I going to store this? I took the front hatch off and slid the fish in. Retied the leader and paddled back to my new favourite spot. 3 casts later and I miss a distinctive tap as I lift the lure off the bottom for a retrieve, I could see the fish on the sounder. Another cast, and I’m on again. Not the same fish I thought, but reasonable. After a few moments that unmistakeable brown outline could be seen below. (I’ve still got my 2 smaller lizards in the net)! No problem this one will fit. She came in with relative ease and was a nice fish at about 60cm.
Now where talking :cool2: .
The drift is starting to pick up even though the wind is blowing 20knt consistently, it’s not holding against the current but I’ll get a few more drifts in. Back to spot x, the increased drift meant a few snagged lures but that wasn’t too bad as they tended to pull off easily. Another drift and another snag......hang on this snag has a head shake and is moving across the current. I battened down the hatches as the chop was getting nasty and this fish was taking line much the same as the jew had earlier. A few headshakes and short but blistering runs and the fish slide up over the ledge. Again, I though only a matter of time now so back the drag off.
Bugger, I’ve now got 3 lizards in the net....what am I going to do with this? then the jew up front starts to thump under the deck which scared the crap out of me till I worked out it wasn’t a bull shark, what a circus!. The hooked fish towed us for a few minutes gradually inching towards the surface. To my surprise what I thought was another jew emerged from the now murky water to be a brown shovel,,,, woohoo.
Geez this is going to be interesting, the wind chop was now well over the being nasty and verging on dangerous, I had 3 lizards in the net and a big lizard in the water that had to come on deck for a picture!....She wasn’t 6kg but as she surfaced I remember thinking yep she’s solid. I hung the net with all 3 lizards in the water and the big girl swam her top 30cm in and thrashed. She ended up back in the water and heading for the bottom :ops: . It was about that time that I said gee, damn, golly gosh. Not to worry I was still connected. A few tense seconds later she came back to the net and again slid her top half in and thrashed about. As luck would have it (and I did have a bit that arv) her gill spines got tangled in the net. Taking the opportunity I slid her over the side and laid her on the deck. Now I just had to get to shore for a quick picture without her flipping over the side. A minute or so later and the yak was beached, brag mat out and pictures were taken. 79.8cm, not my biggest, but my biggest from the yak and a great reward. I took the shots of my 2 biggest 79.8cm and 60.5cm. And returned the big girl to the water. That’s going to take a mammoth effort to top I thought. :fg:
79.9cm lizzard 26112010 resized.jpg
79.8 and 60.5cm lizzards 26112010 resized.jpg
By this time the wind couldn’t hold me against the current and the chop was dangerous. I had 2 drifts and thought to myself, it is not going to get any better than this. I pointed the yak back at the ramp and paddled back, I remember hitting the beach thinking I was glad I had stuck with plan A. Got to be happy with a feed like that
flattie comp 5 resize 26112010.jpg
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Flathead - 79.5cm
Jew - 77cm
Cod (murray)- 90cm
Bass (wild) - 45cm

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