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Fly Fishing

Chasing Golden Trevalley on the Magnetic Island flats.


Enjoying one of the many beautiful beaches of Magnetic Island.

Monday 25 October 2010

Modifying a Flatz Rat for Barramundi

The Killalure Flatz Rat has long been one of my personal favourite lures. It is extremely versatile, and works on a number of species. It can be trolled quickly for Doggie Mackerel and other pelagic species, or cast and worked slowly for Barramundi. Being a floating lure, it can be worked with a slow twitching motion just under the surface, or pulled down deep and twitched over snags and rocks. Its a very snag resistant lure, and out of the box comes with a decent set of rings and trebles. 

However, one thing Barramundi like is a lure that suspends or very slowly rises when paused. They are an incredibly lazy fish, and will generally hit a lure when its not in motion. Out of the box the Flatz Rat has a tendency to rise a little too quickly, and a pause brings the lure out of the strike zone and back toward the surface too fast. Keen Barramundi fishers have know this for many years, and spend countless hours with a bucket of water adjusting hook and ring size on all their lures to achieve that nice suspending action the Barra love. Fortunately, this is a pretty easy modification for the Flatz Rat. This hot tip comes curtsy of Graham Knight of Townsville's GandT Fishing School.

The only adjustment necessary with a Flatz Rat is to upgrade the front treble to next size up. A VMC 6x in a #2 size seems to be the perfect combination. Using a set of split-ring pliers, remove the front treble and slide on a new VMC. Its important to fit the treble back on so that the body of the lure lays in the V of two of the hooks, and the third hook of the treble hangs directly down. If the hook does not sit right the action can be upset. Remove hook and refit it to the split ring in the opposite direction. Keep the smaller hook that comes off, its a perfect spare if the rear hook ever needs replacing. As the rings and hooks already on the lure are quite strong, these don't need to be replaced at all. Thats it! You now have a lure that will float gradually to the surface when paused, rather than race quickly.

The Flatz Rat is best worked on a baitcaster outfit with a low profile reel. Rods should be graphite in construction and short in length, about 5'6'' is ideal. Baitcasters allow for accurate casting, and a nice light configuration gained from low profile reels and graphite rod means you can cast comfortably and accurately all day long. The short length is needed for casting from small boats in the tight confines of mangrove lined creeks. It allows quick short flicks to get lures in under mangroves and other overhanging structure. The Shimano Curado E is an ideal reel, and matched to something like a G●Loomis GL2 CR644 will produce an awesome outfit. 20lb Power Pro braided line and one of Phil's 40lb 'light game' shock leaders is a perfect match for the outfit and lure.

To work the lure, put a cast out as close as possible to the structure you want to work. Engage the reel and give a firm but steady pull down on the rod tip to get the lure to swim deep while still closer to the structure. Pause and give a count of 3 before doing anything else. If the fish are there and keen, thats all it will take! A hit will most often come on that first pause. If not, give the lure a couple of steady twitches and pause again, just taking up the slack with the reel. Again, count to 3 before repeating the process. Its quite important to give a good long pause each time. A Barramundi will often look at a lure for several seconds before engulfing it, don't pull a lure away from a fish that is about to strike! This is where the adjustment to a suspending, or slow rising, lure is critical.

If there was ever a 'must have' lure, this would be my pick! Flatz Rat lures, Shimano reels and G●Loomis rods are all available from ProTackle at very good prices.