'The author with a 40cm whiting that was caught on a blade while slow rolling a blade over the flats in Sydney Harbour'
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For many years anglers used to think that to be able to catch at least one stud whiting you need a hand full of blood worms when fishing in the estuary or a hand full of beach worms when chasing them off the beach. Lure fishing for whiting is not that new. The practice has been around for a number of years. It’s just that not many anglers have taken it. They mainly think that catching stud whiting on lures is a by-catch to say catching flathead and bream with lures.
Just today I was competing in the Bets Grand Final in Sydney Harbour and I managed to catch a 40cm whiting on a blade. It was a shame that it wasn’t a bream. A 40 cm bream would be about 1.2 kilos and that would have put us up the ladder further. But that’s another story for another time.
When using a surface lure when targeting whiting one of the main things that I take into consideration is the water depth and structure. Fishing the wrong spots will leave you without any success and the poor old surface lure gets chucked back into the tackle box never to see the light of day again. All of my best fish have come from water depths between 0.3m to 1.5m. I never tend to fish any deeper than 2m and only fish that deep when it’s a clear hot summer day. Shallow sand flats where you would find saltwater yabbies are an ideal place to start, along with shallow weed beds particularly if you can find some with sand patches through it.
It doesn’t matter how shallow these flats are, as long as the weed isn’t on top of the water your surface lure wont foul up on weed and it will surprise you to see how big some of the fish are that come off the very shallow flats. Fishing the front edge of weed beds where they drop into deeper water are also a great place to look, fish will hide in the weeds waiting for baitfish to pass by and ambush anything edible that crosses nearby. Retrieving your lure either across the front of the weed bed or over the top of it often results in some fantastic fishing.
Surface popper work so wel on whiting. When you get a chance grab hold of a dvd called The S Factor. The whiting session will blow you away - Gary Brown Click Here to view large photo
I keep a large range of surface lures with me on the water, different sizes and colours are always in the tackle box and most have landed plenty of fish. The sizes I use range from 35mm up to 70mm in various different brands and colours. Colours I prefer are the more natural ones like baitfish or prawn colouring, and more often than not transparent. There are a few different types of surface lures, but the two types I prefer are the poppers which splash and make the bloop sound, and the walk the dog style lures that dart and zigzag across the surface which is usually the better lure on calm bright days.
Popper strikes provide an instant shot of surprise and delight that makes me jump, flinch and laugh at the same confused moment. A lot of anglers think of bream as a fish that chases surface lures, but I along with many other anglers have known for a while that surface lures can smack whiting. It is just a matter of being in the right place and at the right time.
Sand flats can be one of the most productive types of fishing grounds in an estuary system, and if you are prepared to put in the hard yards you will reap the benefits that they have on offer. Sand flats hold a myriad of sea life; crabs, worms, nippers and other marine organisms all of which in turn will attract the baitfish and predators alike. Whiting can be found patrolling over these sand flats during the higher parts of the tide, only to move off them as the tide is too low for them.
When chasing whiting over sand flats I will tend to use either a stick bait or worm type soft plastic. The type of head will either be a 1/40 or 1/28 HWS jig head or a 1/20 or 1/16 once, 1/0 Tournament Series jig head. If using the HWS jig head I will have my rod (Pflueger Trion PTSP AB 4770 1LFT rod, mounted with a Pflueger Medallist 6030 spinning reel that is spooled with 3 GSP line) tip well above my head and shake the tip of the rod while at the same time turning the handle slowly of the reel. If a fish takes the soft plastic I will gentle load up the rod, allowing the fish to take it away while still under pressure. On the other hand when I am fishing with the 1/20 or 1/16 once, 1/0 Tournament Series jig head I will use a flicking motion of rod tip to skip or hop the soft plastic over the sandy bottom.
Targeting whiting with soft plastics can be done in very shallow water and water that is a deep as 12 to 13 metres. One of the main soft plastics that I use when chasing whiting is the Berkley 6 inch Camo worm pinned on a number 2, 1/8th jig head. It may seem a little on the heavy side, but what the number 2, 1/8th jig does is create a small puff of sand each time you slowly hop it off the bottom.
What would also be a good idea is to put on some added scent like the Squidgies S Factor or Pro Cure in the shrimp. I have found by putting on some extra scent to the soft plastic it will usually make the whiting suck the soft plastic down further.
Blades are is a metal vibration lure that can be hopped or slow-rolled across shallow flats, vertically jigged against steep structure, or burned mid-water through schooled fish. The blade styled lure has proven itself time and again in some of the toughest tournament conditions, nailing big whiting from deeper water. It excels in dirty conditions, the blade body giving off just the right shimmy to attract predatory strikes from fish.
A small selection of blades that the author uses when it comes to tageting whiting - Gary Brown
Big Eye blades, Switch Blades, Strike Pro, just to name a few. Call then what you like, blades to many people are just a piece of metal with a couple of trebles fixed to them, that can cast a long way, sink fairly fast and get snagged on the bottom. What they are to the many different species of fish that I have caught on them I can only guess. But, one thing I will let you know they do work extremely well.
by Gary Brown
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11:10 AM Sun 4 Aug 2013GMT
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