It doesn’t take much to make this kid happy. Sure, I love my boat and getting on the water but sometimes wading the sand flats can be just as fun with a fraction of the cleaning up. Spring has finally arrived, and hopefully the warm weather won’t be far behind. It’s time to start thinking about and preparing for that inevitable topwater bite, and one of my favourite fishing pastimes – Whiting on top.
All you need to find is a sand flat which is covered by water at high tide, add a bit of weed and and you’ve got a good start to finding those topwater whiting.
Hitting the water as the tide rises, in areas that were once uncovered by water at the dead low, you’ll find alleyways for fish to move into areas that will hold food. The ribbon weed that exists in this area will attract prawns and if you can find nippers, you’ll find whiting.
Throwing small pencil lures or cup faced poppers are both effective and entertaining, as the visual aspect of lure fishing takes over, you’ll be able to stalk and hunt your target which is heart in mouth fishing.
Casting to these small channels that form as the tide rises are the key to success. These channels will be the corridors for both bait and fish to move onto the newly accessible flats. Cup faced poppers and pencil lures are small enough for the whiting to get at and replicate prawns and bait fish that have been injured.
The key to success is to keep a steady retrieve, either “walking the dog” with the pencil lure or small bloops with the cup faced popper. Even when the whiting are swiping at the lure, it is important to keep the lure moving and will also help with the hookup, as the lure is already moving when it finds the trebles find the corner of the mouth of the fish.
“Walking the dog” with a pencil lure requires small, sharp upwards or downward jabs of the rod tip. This action forces the lure to dart left and right, in a zig zag pattern. The Cup faced popper works in much the same way, with the intent of forcing the lure to make a “bloop” noise and creating a small splash, as the lure is retrieved in a straight line.
Watching the lure is important but watching for signs of life around the lure is just as important. Seeing shadows,flashes or even swirls is an indication that you’re in the right spot.
Wading the flats is an easy way to get at the fish but can also be an easy way of scaring the fish too. Make sure you keep an eye on where you end up walking, being careful not to walk through one of the corridors or channels.