Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Corio Bay + Soft Plastics = Flathead

Guest contributor Rhett Thorne from Mad Keen Yak Angling targets Flathead, Rock Cod and Barramundi off Corio Bay Central Qld. 

Sunrise over Corio Bay

After launching the boat in the upper reaches of Waterpark Creek at Corbetts Landing we headed down the passage at sunrise. I was fortunate enough to be invited by Daniel and Renee to fish with them for the day in Corio Bay targeting mainly Dusky Flathead, Goldspot Rockcod and Barramundi.

We started by casting our soft plastic lures over a sand flat for the first target fish, dusky flathead. The tackle I was using was my Okuma Flame 30 and my Okuma graphite Travel Spin spooled with Sufix DuraFlex monofilament. It wasn’t long before we were landing flathead around the 35-45cm mark, tagging and releasing them.

The writer's first fish of the day

After changing locations, we commenced casting our soft plastics at the flathead up close to the banks. Renee was soon hooked up to the largest flathead so far that measured 52cm and had already been tagged. The tag code and fish length was recorded so it could be reported as a recapture.

It was around then that we noticed a couple of other anglers that skillfully landed their small boat directly on top of a shallow sandbar. We were deep into discussion about whether their desired fishing spot was intentional, the answer becoming apparent when they jumped out to push the boat off the sandbar.

Large Flatty caught on the writer's Okuma Combo
With the outgoing tide we again changed our location to a slightly deeper section where we cast hardbodies in hope for barramundi lurking around the rock piles for mullet and herring. Daniel hooked I nice fish which put up a good fight, but disappointingly turned out to be a pesky barracuda. With no further luck we put our baitcasters away and continued casting our soft plastics around some rocks that met a sand flat. We caught a few more flathead and some goldspot rockcod over the rocky area. I decided to cast my lure up towards the sandflat and twitched a few times. As soon as the lure started to sink I kept the tension on my line and felt the most subtle bump. My line zigzagged and ran through the water. As I tightened the drag of my Flame 30, the bend in my Okuma Spin rod increased. The fish slowly came closer to the boat where Daniel was awaiting it with the landing net. The fish was one hefty Dusky Flathead measuring 65.5cm which was the biggest flatty of the day, and a new P.B for myself.

65.5 cm Dusky Flathead tagged and released
Soon after, we started heading back up Waterpark Creek and continued to cast our hardbodies in the hope of a couple nice barra. I was using an Okuma V200a baitcaster on an Okuma Travel rod which produced accurate casts into the snags, especially with my floating Rapala saltwater X-rap in the albino shiner colour. After alot of non productive casts, Daniel caught the one and only Barramundi of the trip. A couple casts later he hooked a flathead on his hard body barra lure.

The total catch of the day was 30 dusky flathead, 6 goldspot rockcod, 5 wire net rockcod, 1 barracuda and 1 barramundi. Not a bad day when 36 of the fish are tagged and all the fish are released to live another day.

Thorne loves is Okuma Combos
Words and Pics: Rhett Thorne -  reproduced with permission. Read more of Rhett's fishing adventures at Mad Keen Yak Angling.