This Week: Whiting
This week article is fun for the whole family and especially for kids to catch a fish!
This week’s tip is around catching whiting, no boat is required so a fun activity for the family and kids. Sand whiting are also known as summer whiting, silver whiting and blue-nose whiting, inhabit the inshore waters of eastern Australia including coastal beaches, sand bars, bays, coastal lakes, estuaries and rivers as far as the tidal limits. They typically form large schools across sand banks near river mouths and in the surf zone. Sand whiting generally favor sandy or muddy sand substrates in shallow water to about 0.2 – 6 metres depth which make it fun to catch.
The easiest way to catch a whiting is using light line rod-and-line and handlines from shore or from the beach or from a boat. 2 of my favorite places to catch a whiting are estuary across the sand flats, and gutter along the beach during the warmer months. In both scenarios try to incorporate a slow retrieve with the occasional pause on your winding style as whiting take interest in a bait that moves. If it’s just sitting in the water than you will find whiting will not show to much interest in your bait. Live baits, such as worms, soldier crabs, pippies and yabbies (nippers) are essential though a fresh peeled prawns can also be used. If whiting are around your kids will be catching them pretty easily. One other way not as much fun for the kids is to use small popper surface lures though the kids may have fun retrieving lures all day but don’t expect to catch as many as you do using bait.
To ensure you have great fun catching whiting don’t over gun your equipment, not only will this reduce your chances but whiting on light tackle are great fun to catch. Estuary fishing, I use something like a 2-4kg 7-foot graphite spin rod and a 1000-2500 size reel, while in the surf use a light 10-12-foot rod and balance with a 2500 – 4000 reel I reckon a 6000 size spin reel is over doing it. I only use braid 1-3kg mainline and 0.5-1.0m long 3-6kg mono leader. Size 4-8 long shank hook, size 4-8 swivel, and size 0-2 ball sinker, heavier in the surf and I prefer a pyramid sinker. The surf is very dependent on the conditions. I also like to put a small red bead onto your trace that will sit about the top of the hook. Don’t ask me why but this seem to work better than a straight hook.
Personally my favorite type of fishing for whiting is from the beach. And here is a couple of tips for beginners to take note of:
Select your beach usually one that is unbroken and long holding gutters. Gutters are typically a deeper section of the beach protected by a shallow outer bank. Waves break on the bank and roll white water into the gutter giving whiting cover and dislodging food in the process. A gutter will also funnel water out through channels on either flank effectively creating a perimeter on all sides. The best advice is to select a high vantage point and look for darker patches along the beach indicating deep water.
The 2nd mistake I see from inexperienced anglers is lack of mobility. No.1 factor for success is if the gutter is not producing, you need to walk between them and find out which one is holding fish. You might be lucky first go but if your bait isn’t snaffled in the first half hour I would be moving on. That’s why it’s handy to have all your bait and keeper bags connected to you in some way, negating the need for buckets and tackle boxes.
The 3rd mistake is cast distance and this is very import especially on the beach. I lost count providing advice to inexperience fishos on the beach where they are trying to casts into the horizon. You are not in a long cast competition, and generally most fish are in close to see where the fish are holding. What that means is a few casts to the outer bank slowly retrieve as suggested earlier. If no fish are being produced cast as close to shore as you can. In fact, challenge yourself to cast as close as possible. Whiting will be caught in water so close to your toes you will be astonished. The take home message here is don’t cast to the middle of the gutter and hope for the best. Also in close you have a chance of catching dart which are perhaps a very under rated table fish.
Tight lines until next week or perhaps a couple for weeks as I will be in Vegas. Lucky for some.
NOTE: Whiting minimum size 27cm total of 20 and they are fantastic table fare.
Whiting Photo Credit: Daniel McCartney