Flathead at Hen and Chicken Bay

Flathead at Hen and Chicken Bay

After a very successful first trip to Hen and Chicken Bay (read about it here), I decided to take advantage of the fact that fishing was still an allowed activity during the Coronavirus lockdown (as long as social distancing guidelines are followed), and headed out for a second session. Amazingly, the park was still relatively busy, with kids playing and adults exercising, although most of them appeared to be following the guidelines.

I snuck between them and waded out onto the flats. The water was cleaner than on my previous visit, although it was still relatively dirty, with limited visibility. I stuck to what had worked for me before, a 7 weight rod with a long leader and a weighted fly, resembling a shrimp or a small baitfish. I favoured slower retrieves, sometimes with short jerky strips, which are known to be loved by bream. As with my previous visit, I got a lot of knocks, and lost a few fish. I’m not sure what it is, but a lot of the fish on the flats don’t seem to hook up consistently. Hopefully I’ll work out why over time.

Another fly fisherman joined me on the banks, but we stayed far apart, fishing opposite ends of the small bay. He was a bit too far away to keep a close eye on him, so I’m not sure how successful he was, but he wasn’t there for more than 20 minutes.

Just as I was considering heading home I picked up a solid fish off the bottom. After a short fight I landed my first Australian dusky flathead. It was similar in appearance to the bartailed flathead I used to catch back in South Africa, but was definitely larger in size. I snapped off a few photos before releasing it to fight another day.

Happy with my catch, I packed up and headed home, reinvigorated, and ready to take on another week of working from home, and home schooling two young kids.