There were no sounders or electric motors on our boat in those early days and it was not uncommon to see us pulled up on a bank doing a spark plug change after many slow trolling hours!
Everyone trolled for flatties back in these early years and this led to the development of the Lively Lures Micro Mullet by Alan Dolan and the Pig Lures by Shane Gartner. We would hate to think how many flatties these lures have accounted for over the years. Both these great lure makers have both become good mates of ours after meeting them at Flathead Classics in those early years.
A major swing in the flathead fishing technique came when David Green’s team tried using a soft plastic called a Renosky shad. These were being used to catch barra in the Northern Territory and they thought they might work on flatties. And work they did! The flatties loved them and green was their favourite colour.
There soon became a worldwide shortage of green Renosky shads as the word spread amongst the flathead fishing fraternity. When the supply of these green lures dried up we found that you could dye the other coloured Renosky’s with green scent to produce that holy-grail lure again. As a result of this supply shortage, other soft plastics were tried and proved to also be a success.
The floodgates had been opened and most competitors started fitting electric motors to their boats and caught all their flatties casting plastics. A small number of dedicated teams continued to troll for their flathead with continued success. The trends have continued to change and develop over the years with most teams now sporting a supply of trolling lures, soft plastics and vibes, both soft and hard.
Another major change over the years has been in the rods, reels and line used by competitors. I don’t think you will find an angler in the Classic using monofilament line on their reels these days wherein the early year this was the norm. As rod builders, we have developed a passion for trying to design and build the “perfect” flattie rod. Hopefully, we will never see this happen as it would mean R and D has stopped in our tackle industry.
The weather has also been a major factor in the Flathead Classic over the years, with Mother Nature usually saving a few days of savage conditions to test competitor’s skill and patience. There have been very few years where we have been served with 3 days of perfect weather, but let’s hope 2018 is one of those years!
Ben and I would like to thank the Flathead Classic Committee for your tireless dedication and hard work to stage such a successful event. We would also like to welcome all competitors both new and past participants to this year’s competition. We are sure you will enjoy both the fishing and mateship you will enjoy during this, the 25th Annual Flathead Classic.