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Casting Flatfish Lures – Fun Anywhere You Try

Casting Flatfish Lures – Fun Anywhere You Try

When I was a kid, the lure I used most was a flatfish.   Casting flatfish lures always caught me fish.  At the time, I was fishing for small mouth bass and walleyes.   I have used flatfish my whole life.  They work in any water in any conditions.

Casting Flatfish Lures on Calm Water

A brightly colored flatfish cast on still water is a great surface lure.  The flat tapered nose dives the lure with a hard pull which the body brings it back to the surface.  A finger on the line just before the reel adds a side to side motion.  In calm water, the lure is deadly.

A flatfish tends to run at a medium depth, but most models float.  They can be used for surface fishing.  The surface retrieve needs to vary between slow and  fast.  The lure should be bobbing and splashing.  Fish in the shade of rocks can’t resist the motion.  It pulls them out of weeds.

Casting Flatfish Lures in Choppy Water

On choppy water or  whitecaps, retrieving a flatfish on the surface does not work.  Waves of any sizeChoppy water makes casting flatfish lures more difficult throw the lure out of the water.  As a result, fish tend not to hit a lure that is completely leaving the water every couple of seconds.  Consequently, in waves, a steady retrieve that keeps the flatfish under the waves is needed.   Pulling the rod tip forward and letting it bend back while reeling will add extra action but keep the lure in the water.   In choppy water, the best method for fishing a flatfish is slow trolling. Again, pulling the rod tip forward and letting it slip back will add extra action.

Fishing Flatfish in Deep Water

Flatfish are really a mid-depth running lure depending.  The faster the retrieve the deeper the lure will run.  Ten feet is about the depth with a normal retrieve.  For really deep retrieves, weighted line works best.  The color tells the depth.  The action of the lure does not change as long as it is always moving forward.   Any lure can be fished deep using weighted line.

Also, rigging a weight on the line can take the flatfish deeper.  Usually, a weight is used with bait, but it works with a lure.  The more line let out the deeper the rig goes.  This can only be done while trolling.  The line must be presented in the water while the boat is moving forward to avoid tangling.  A flasher can be added to change the motion of the lure and attract fish.  The weight should be a least 18 inches from the lure.  If a flasher is add, both should be at least 2 ft.from the lure.  If this rig is used, the rod tip should remain steady to avoid tangling. This setup with bait is called a Carolina Rig.

Casting Flatfish Lures in Saltwater

The largest flatfish are needed for saltwater fishing.  When fishing in salt water, a flat weight should beanimated-fishing-image-0131 added right in front of the nose because the lure will not sink without weight.   When surf casting flatfish lures, the retrieve should be fast without stopping.  The action of the lure will change, but will still be effective.   Perhaps the best salt water method for using flatfish is jigging.  When drifting or anchored, drop the lure to the desired depth and pull it up at varied speeds stopping to let if fall a bit and then retrieve again.  If trolling in salt water, a huge lure is needed.   Flatfish may not look like other saltwater lures, but if fished correctly, they work.

Buy flatfish that are the same size and color of other lures that work where you fish.  From there, experiment with color and size.  I have used tiny inch long flatfish for trout in streams and foot long flatfish in the ocean.

Flatfish are a versatile, old school lure.  Give them a try.  They might become your go to lure.





16 thoughts on “Casting Flatfish Lures – Fun Anywhere You Try

  1. I don’t know.  I don’t think about it much.  I know that they recover if released properly.  Thanks for taking the time to read the post.

  2. Surface fishing is the best.  See that strike out of the water or the swirl around a lure never gets old.  Thanks for reading my post and commenting.

  3. Bread is a great bait, but it melts if not put on the hook right.  Flatfish idon’t get caught on rocks etc too often so they don’t have to be replaced.  I keep a two sizes in 3 colors most of the time.  Thanks for reading the article and responding.

  4. The types of lures are awesome in fresh and salt water. I mostly use surface lures when fishing, but always have a couple of these in my tackle box to present something deeper in the water. In most cases, these lures will produce fish, particularly if used in the manner described in this post. Well done.

  5. Strangely, I have never been fishing. Although I love eating fish, the thought of catching the fish myself is something I do not relish. I’m OK with others catching fish. 

    Fishing appears to be very technical. You’ve got to do it right, otherwise no fish. One thing has always given me cause for concern. Do fish feel pain when caught on a hook?



  6. I remember going fishing with my uncle as a child and we used to use bread as a lure. Not very professional I know, and sometimes we used to get so hungry after being out for hours that we used to end up eating most of the bread.

    The flatfish lure looks like a far better bet, as it resembles food for fish and it is almost guaranteed that you will catch something. I also prefer using bait that isn’t live, as the only thing that puts me off fishing is if I have to handle worms.

    How many do you recommend buying for your fishing kit? I guess it is always good to have a few in case of losses?

  7. I do a lot of caught and release.  I should have mentioned that in the article. Barbless hooks even on lures makes that possible.  Thanks for the comment and giving me an idea of another post.

  8. The great thing about this lure is that it can look like every bait fish.  Thanks for reading and commenting.

  9. Thankyou for all the tips on how to fish with flatfish lures. I sounds to me that this particular lure has given you much success throughout the years. It is no wonder that you recommend it so highly. You have given a complete guide on the use of this lure in different conditions of use. I find this very valuable. I have personally used this lure on many occasions. but I need to heed your advice and fish differently with this hook for different conditions. This has been a very valuable read on being able to fish successfully.

  10. We are in serious water trouble here in California.  The water in our lake is drying up.  It’s about a quarter mile from our dock now.  Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

  11. This is a very interesting article. I don’t know much about fishing methods but I have seen fishermen use either the hook method or net method of fishing. The flatfish lures method seems like a smart way to fish too and also looks like a more exciting method. I guess it will be fun for the fishermen to watch the fish fall easily into their trap.

  12. My sister and brother really enjoy fishing. And while reading this got me wondering if they have ever used flatfish. I will have to ask because it seems it’s a method worth trying out. This shows how important it is for the water that is out there. Thanks for a great post. 

  13. I hope you will try them.  They are considered old fashion, but they really work.  Thanks for reading and commenting.

  14. With its trademark, flat-nosed body and offset detachable hooks, the lure produced a life-like, wiggling, swimming action that seemed irresistible to predator fish.

    You can use them in different kinds of water with proper tuning. Almost any kind of fish would be caught from trout to salmon as far as I have researched.

    I don’t carry much experience beyond using roundworms for fishing and have not upgraded my knowledge.  Now I am a vegetarian not eating fish but happy to learn. 

  15. I also love fishing. But I have never used this flatfish. According to your post, this seems like a very successful method. And there are good ways you can do it. It is very important because it is suitable for any water. Thanks so much for a post like this. Keep posting like this.

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