Flathead local fish species facts and Limits. Flathead is the perfect bread and butter species and one of the most targeted fish found in the ocean and estuaries across Victoria. There easily accessible providing anglers with decent fighting qualities and they taste terrific one of our favourite eating fish. They’re quite easy to catch and can be targeted in a variety of waters. Flathead is an ambush predator that like shallow sandy areas. They can be targeted in many different ways such as boat, kayak, land-based and bait or using lures and plastics.

Watch our detailed video on step by step guide on how to catch flathead with bait, soft plastics and lures.

Scientific name


Flathead size and catch limits

Legal-size limit of 27 cm, bag limit of 20 over 27cm. Different size and limits apply to dusky flathead so please take some time to recognise the differences with a dusky.

Most flathead caught around Port Phillip Bay and Western Port will generally be between 25 and 40 cm. However flathead can grow much bigger, especially are estuaries such as Lake Tyers.

Best baits to catch flathead

Pilchards, Mussels, Squid, Chicken, whitebait, Pipis, Blue Bait, Prawns

Best lures to catch flathead

Flathead loves soft plastics. Just about any style or colour flathead they are not fussy. Our favourites include grubs, worm imitations, curly tails, paddle tails, minnow imitations. Just have to cover ground and get the soft plastic in their area. Other good options include deep diving hard body lures, Vibes and Blades.

General tips for catching flathead

Ensure you always handle flathead carefully. They have spikes located behind there head which can give you a nasty sting and cause severe bleeding. Sand flats are a great place to target Flathead. They are ambush predators that will wait for smaller fish to swim buy for an easy meal. This is why it’s important to keep your baits and your soft plastics on the bottom for as long as possible that’s where the flathead will be. Flathead arent to fussy and will happily take most lures and baits when in a boat we would recommend drifting until you find a good patch of them.

Rod and rig setup for flathead

Ideally, target flathead using a light 2–4 or 3-5 kilo fishing rod. This is generally around 7 foot in length. The lighter the rod the more fun you can have. The rod will be accompanied with a 2000-3000 size reel spooled with 8lb monofilament line or braid. You can go lighter but flathead has bristly teeth that can scuff up your line. If your bait fishing then you can’t go past a simple running rig. A small bean sinker to swivel, then roughly 45cm of 6-pound leader to a size 6 long shank hook.

Locations to target flathead

Lake tyres, Port Phillip Bay, Western Port, Gippsland Lakes, Mallacoota

Best times to target flathead

Flathead is an all year round prospect and can be caught at any time of the day, That’s what makes them such a great species.

Recreational fishing guide

You can obtain a free Victorian recreational fishing guide from the Victorian Fisheries Authorities

Additions or Corrections for this fish species

If you feel this fish species guide is missing key information or needs any corrections. Then please let us know by emailing our team at enquiries@fishingmad.com.au with specific details in the email. Thank you