The 'FR' in the Jackson Artist FR Lure's name stands for 'fast retrieve'. These lures were designed for high speed retrieves when chasing fast moving pelagic fish off the boat or from the rocks and shore. In saying that, the smaller Artist FR80 and FR70 are super effective when worked really slow and even with a complete pause and twitch action in estuaries, flathead being a hot target.
Jackson Artist FR105
This size has proved most effective offshore, with target species being fast and hard-hitting pelagics like salmon, tailor, kingfish and small tuna. A simple constant and fast retrieve works well with this size, and you can throw in a few sweeping pulls here and there to change things up. The bib keeps it underwater while you retrieve and it has a really nice, tight action, so if you do need to slow down your retrieve it still has a great action.
Jackson Artist FR80 - the best lure for flathead!
The Artist FR80 is a brilliant estuary flathead lure because of its unique size, weight, shape and action. For such a skinny little lure it weighs a solid 8g, which creates a quick fluttering wounded baitfish action both when it sinks and when it's worked off the bottom where the flathead are hiding. It's incredibly versatile and can be worked fast or slow with erratic actions or constant retrieves, all of which have smashed the flatties and a handful of other species too. I'll go as far as saying this is our best flathead lure, it's very underrated and extremely effective.
How to use it most effectively:
Our most effective action so far has been simply lifting the lure anywhere between 30cm and 90cm off the ground (so small to medium rod twitches) every 2 seconds or so as you slowly work it along, which can be done while stationary or drifting along in a boat. Even the odd longer pause on the bottom has proven effective. We often lift the lure at a slow to medium rate, but it will also handle a fast twitch no trouble.
The action in the Artist FR80 as it sinks and is lifted does all the work for you, it’s super simple and easy to use. The lure also spins or trolls beautifully for those that want to stick to a more conventional technique, particularly for other species like tailor and salmon, but we’ve definitely had the most success with flathead using it as explained above.
If you’re targeting estuary flathead the Jackson Artist FR80 needs to be in your arsenal, it simply won’t let you down. Other species these lures are great for include tailor, salmon, barra and mangrove jack.
Our best success has come from rigging these lures with assist hooks like we’ve been doing with most of our lures lately, it’s increased our hook-up rate and decreased our losses once hooked. The Ocean’s Legacy Micro Assist hooks in size 6 are what we’ve been using. Hang one set (two hooks) off the rear eyelet, we’ve found that the flathead stay well clear of the leader when shaking on the way in which drastically reduces chances of losing them due to the leader breaking, but we've also been hanging them off the middle eyelet with no issues too.
P.S. our two best flathead colours have been GSU (the clear-ish holographic one) and PWH (the white one)
Jackson Artist FR70
Very much like the FR80 the smaller FR70 is just as promising when fishing estuaries. It's much newer than the FR80 so we haven't used it quite as much, but the few times we have so far we've gotten our fair share of fish, it's best so far being a 84cm flatty. It's only 5g however it's also quite compact, so you can still cast it pretty far.
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