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Western Port Winter Whiting – Marc Ainsworth

It’s July and the days are short and cold. Even a gentle breeze feels icy. But for keen anglers willing to rug up and leave the warmth of the lounge room, the rewards are there!

A recent week off work saw me wetting a line for whiting in Western Port. Inspired by plenty of Facebook posts last winter, some boasting hefty whiting catches, I embarked on finding a few myself.



Here are my 5 tips if you’re considering doing the same:

  1. Don’t change much – pipis remain a must. They’re not cheap but ration them out and they’ll go further. Two baits from one pipi is easy. Three is possible, especially when the whiting are hot to trot and beating the ‘pickers’. Fish the edge of banks. Move frequently. There is no secret magic formula to winter whiting fishing that makes it vastly different to summer.
  2. Fish either side of the low – the last 1.5 hours of the run out and the first 1.5 hours of the run worked best for me. When fishing in 4-5 metres alongside a sand bank, you want running tidal water. No run, no fun! When the flatties turn up at slack tide, take a break, re-tie leaders, prepare more baits and enjoy a warming cuppa.
  3. Fish circle hooks – a paternoster with two circles meets my needs 90% of the time. Long shanks are fine if that’s all you’ve got. A small snap swivel at the bottom makes changing bomb sinkers quick and easy.
  4. Find some cover – I’m not talking fish habitat, I’m talking wind protection. Even in a half cabin, escaping the breeze is worthwhile. It’ll keep you on the water longer and the day’s fishing won’t feel like a Mawson expedition. Check the BOM website and hatch a plan to fish a lee shore.
  5. Anchor the stern – a 15 knots breeze will blow your stern about and can make bait fishing really frustrating. Take a second anchor just in case. Yes, it makes moving spots a bit more work, but when a willing patch of whiting is located, you’ll be glad you’ve got a steady boat.
Winter Whiting 01Winter Whiting 03

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