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I felt tentative on the second day of my recent 2 day fishing trip when it was overcast and heavy with cloud.

We have just come out of the Yellow Fin Whiting Lure season where we enjoy the best fishing on sunny days. Yellow Fin Whiting Lure fishing is always better in sunshine. I can’t nail any precise reason for it, but I assume it is about the YFW seeing their prey easily and then chasing it down in those conditions. Interesting that we never hear of successful Lure caught YFW at night. However plenty of good YFW are regularly caught at night on bait.

On this occasion I was targeting Flathead (Southern Blue Spot). With hopefully some YFW late in the evening tide. The previous sunny and calm day was poor for Flathead but very good for YFW.



Day 1 Catch - A clear, sunny, warm, Autumn Day. Not much good for Flathead in the morning. But a bag of 20 YFW in the evening incoming tide, after the water had warmed, made up for the single 64cm Flathead.


Day 2, turned out to be    CLOUDY BUT FINE.


Day 2. Heavy clouds approaching at sunrise. The numerous birds feeding indicate an abundance of baitfish spread through the shallows. It only got a bit more overcast through the day. It turned out well for Flathead.

With Flathead fishing on the S.A. sandflats, it is all about the best conditions for the baitfish. The Flathead food.

Baitfish will move around a lot on the sandflats depending on a variety of conditions that may be present.

So when considering the best conditions to fish for Flathead, it really is about the best conditions for baitfish. These are some of the conditions I have observed, that affect baitfish and subsequently your fishing for Flathead.

Always follow the baitfish. Study their behaviour and movements. 



Unlike YFW lure fishing, overcast and varying cloud conditions can often produce a bit better results with Flathead.

In Overcast conditions, Baitfish feel safer in the shallows.

They are harder to see by birds preying on them from above.

I too have trouble seeing the terrain and the baitfish, when wading the sandflats on overcast days. And so more baitfish linger longer and are more widespread over the sandflats.

No concentrated areas of baitfish makes fishing a little harder. You will need to cover a lot more ground. But with more baitfish around, there will also be more Flathead around.

On bright sunny days with clear water, baitfish head into the deeper channels and into the weeds for cover. Birds can see them easily and pick them off too easily in clear sunny conditions. The baitfish will not be spread out on the open flats as they will be exposed to preying birds.

The Flathead too will now move to the same areas as the baitfish.

I recently had a slower overcast day turn on its head as soon as the sun came out and stayed out. The overcast conditions saw a prolific number of baitfish spread across the shallows. The Flathead too were wide spread and were hard to find. When the Sun came out late in the day, coinciding with the receding tide, the baitfish soon headed for shelter. The Flathead were not far behind. And yes, they were soon followed by myself. It was much easier finding Flathead after the Sun came out. That was a fortuitous combination of conditions on that day.



Wind across the sandflats, has a great impact on the presence of baitfish in the shallows.

Too Windy, too rough and stirred, and the little baitfish seek shelter and head out deeper or into sheltered weed filled deeper protected channels.

Too calm and glassy, and the seabirds can see them and pick them off too easily. Baitfish head deeper and keep under cover on calm days.

A breeze creating a heavy ripple provides the baitfish ideal cover. And there will be a lot more baitfish on the flats. Flathead too!



The ideal water temperatures for baitfish is in the 16-20c range, which you find for prolonged spells through the days of Autumn and Spring.

This is not to say suitable temperature windows, do not exist in Winter and Summer. But they occur for shorter periods.

A cool spell in a hot summer will again find more baitfish on the flats. The cooler early morning are best on the hot summer days. The converse situation applies for winter. When it is too Cold. Deeper water is warmer than the chilly shallows for the sensitive baitfish.

Summer and Winter days when you get a combination of the right tide stage, with the right air/water temperatures, have provided the better results in these otherwise tougher season.



The falling Tide is best. The baitfish retreat with the falling tide on the sandflats and congregate in the deeper and weedy areas. Flathead lay in wait.

The bigger run off tides are better as they sweep out more baitfish off the sandflats. But the smaller dodge tide days of S.A. that also have the previously mentioned favourable conditions can often be good.

I don't get as many Flathead on the incoming tide. But in Autumn the large evening tides, with has the warmer water from the deep, brings in a lot of YFW particularly after a warm sunny day.



Autumn and Spring are the most successful seasons for Flathead on the S.A. sandflats. The ambient water temperatures for baitfish is the primary reason. It very comfortable for the baitfish, which will see them linger in the shallows all day.

Autumn is the better of the two seasons. The presence of more Weed Wracks caused by the annual leaf shedding of Ribbon Weed, “Posidonia  creates the food source in the composting Weed Wracks, which increases the presence of baitfish.  

Some WA Research has found that

“up to ten times more fish (of 30 different species) feed around wrack in the surf zone compared to sandy areas and that fish numbers increase as wrack quantities increase. Some of these fish are the juveniles of popular recreational species including cobbler, whiting and yellow-eyed mullet. In addition, the large numbers of juvenile fish feeding near wrack attract larger predators such as herring and tailor, so fishing is certainly improved near mature beach wrack.”

Spring ain't too bad either. Ambient water temperatures are present, but not as much Weed Wrack and food to hold the baitfish in the shallows. 

So there is no such idyllic Flathead fishing day. I have combed through all my fishing logs and I am yet to find one day where all the ducks line up! It is always a case of a few more positive factors, out weighing the negative factors, that provide the better Flathead fishing days.

The single most important factor is the presence of baitfish in the shallows.

You will need to respond to any changing conditions on the day and always follow the Baitfish as they move and react.



Aggressive feeders at a young age !!!



Autumn can provide some fishing variety. Flathead are not the only fish baitfish will attract. With the cooling conditions of Autumn a lot of Salmon Trout are about. And occasionally some larger model Salmon start appearing on the Sandflats. They can be a nuisance while you target Flathead as they also love the Flathead lures. Occasionally I keep a few for Salmon patties.


Salmon Trout also like Flathead lures and join the Autumn party

There are still plenty of YFW around. You can get a few on lures early Autumn, late on a sunny day after the water has warmed.

The YFW now have a preference for the large evening tides in Autumn, and are easily taken on bait.


A good catch for an Autumn day. Flathead in the morning and a few YFW on the big incoming evening tides.

Mullet too are plentiful at this time of the year. Again coming in, on the big evening tides.


Even Mullet have a crack at Flathead lures at this time of the year.



I fished for a couple of back to back days early this week. (Sunday & Monday).

Sunday had gorgeous conditions. Aaah! a bit too good for Flathead unfortunately. Bright sunny conditions. Warm Autumn day. Glassy conditions. I could only spot 2 Flathead and managed to catch a nice 64cm specimen.

The second day. The cloudy day brought out the baitfish and a lot more Flathead.


Day 2 Catch - On A Cloudy Day. A good haul of Flathead. No time for the YFW today. I did not wait for the evening tide.

I finished with 6 good Flathead in a full day of covering a lot of ground. Searching and catching a few and spooking a couple too. I did not hang around for the big evening tide. The water temperature was warmish and it probably still would have brought in a lot of YFW around evening and sunset.


Cheers and Tight lines, Des

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Those Eastern states Dusky Flathead can be prolific at times.

All those coastal rivers and lakes along with better water temperatures really suits them fine.

Our Southern Blue Spots are a lot tougher gig. :37_disappointed:

You sure are enjoying your move, with all aspects of your fishing. :1311_thumbsup_tone2:

Cheers, Des

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