Regular trips drifting between 40 and 60 meters off Sydney has resulted in great afternoons of fishing for Flathead. Putting in early preparation in terms of rigging means that we can punch out to our marks through the week, even after work. It has become so productive that even fishing for only an hour before dark generally means we catch our share of Flathead.
The rig we are running is a Paternoster with an 8 oz lead (interchangeable depending on current) and 2 Gamakatsu 6/0 octopus hooks spaced about 2 ft apart. The reason for not using a long shank hook when we are vertically dropping for Flathead in deep water, is that there is an opportunity of catching a Snapper, and the Flathead are highly opportunistic at that depth, so we rarely miss a hook-up.
Another tip for when you are in a similar situation and have a spare rod, is to rig a Paternoster with 2 squid jigs and send that to the bottom. More often than not you will pick up some solid southern Calamari in between fish. Use a light tip rod and roughly a 4000 size reel. I have recently tried the Xtracta range of light jigging rods from Samurai (120g jig size) and they were ideal due to their short and parabolic attributes.
On this particular day we had already caught our share of Flathead, but with the fading light of course the final drop would produce the catch of the day. This Painted Gerard fought like a large Flathead but then had me confused for a Snapper. It’s only the second I have had the privilege of catching but I had never seen one the size of this 3.5 kg model. The photograph speaks for itself in regards to the fish’s beauty… you could say that I was still in awe, looking at my expression.