By Chris Dixon
Thinking back to some of my earliest angling experiences and the humble whiting was one of the first fish I remember chasing as a kid. I’m sure most of us across the county have a fond memory of catching whiting. While most started out chasing them on bait they can be targeted successfully on lures. When the water warms up through spring into summer these fish really do fire up and can be aggressive feeders. So how do you go about catching them on lure?
Where to Find Them
Yellowfin whiting are the main species I’m talking about and can be found all around Australia so that is what I’ll focus on here. As water temperature increases as we come into summer you can find them right up in shallow water, even 20cm of water will hold good fish so don’t think you need to be casting into deep water. Look for clean sandy flats with lots of worm holes and signs of disturbances on the sand.
Keeping a close eye out for small silver flashes is a good idea as there is a chance it’s a school of whiting rolling as they feed, Polarized sunglasses are a must for this so you can see them before they see you when walking the shallows.
I’ve found the warmer the water the more active they will be so sunny hot days with an incoming tide pushing water over the shallows is a good combination to have them in the shallows and feeding well.
Let’s Talk Tackle
While whiting are a smaller species they can be caught on a variety of lures even fairly large offerings, but without a doubt small vibe lures work best, and running assist hooks instead of trebles will improve your catches a lot as they do have small mouths and are great at throwing hooks.
These small vibes are also a little heavier so make casting easier. I do tend to use vibes to find fish and then change over to small surface lures like the Infeet Slippery Dog 65F, once again fitted with assist hooks off the back.
For your outfit you don’t need anything fancy and any 7ft rod rated 1-4kg with a 2000 sized reel will do, 6lb line and 6lb leader is more than enough, but I do at times like to run 8-10lb leader as I have got large flathead as bycatch.
Lure retrieve I think is the single most important factor when it comes to whiting on lure success. Don’t ever stop your lure, it must be moving at all times or they will lose interest in it very quickly.
For vibes a slow steady wind is all that’s needed. For surface lures a find a walk-the-dog retrieve best, and as before don’t stop moving the lure.
My Whiting Outfit
* Rod- TD Hyper 742ULFS
* Reel- 2000 Kix LT
* Line- 6lb J-Braid Grand Island Blue
* Leader- 6lb J-Thread FC Leader
Expensive outfits aren’t needed but it’s best to have a sensitive light rod that is able to work the lures well, and light braided lines make for easy casting of the small lures used.
As summer fast approaches hopefully the info above gives some insight into chasing these speedsters of the flats. With any new method it can take time to figure out but with some persistence it’s great fun and very visual fishing that’s addictive. It can make a hot summer day even more enjoyable walking the shallows with the added bonus of some of the tastiest fish on offer if you choose to keep your catch.
Good luck and happy fishing.