Please select your home edition
Edition
Protector 728x90

Determined, pugnacious fighter – The Whiting

by Gary Brown on 5 Feb 2013
It might not look much, but this 1 inch pumpkin seed Berkley fat grub is on of the authors favourites Gary Brown
Always on the lookout for more information on fishing, I was having a browse through the catalogue from AFN Australian Fishing Network and came across a book called ' The Australian Whiting ' by Kerry Wright and depending on where you live on the coastal fringes of Australia you will at some time or another come across one of the 11 members of the whiting family (Sillaginiade).

In my book I refer to a whiting as a determined, pugnacious fighter that never gives up. They can at times be very finicky on what and when they eat and to succeed in getting amongst a few you will need to learn how to get yourself fresh and live bait.

All of the members of the whiting family have evolved to suit the different types of areas that they inhabit. Some hunt for their food over sandy and muddy bottoms, while others prefer to seek their prey in amongst the weed and gravel beds. Whiting are bottom feeders and they forage for their meals either alone or in vast schools and the mouth structure of the whiting is a very good indication of their bottom feeding habits. The next time that you catch a whiting have a good look at its mouth. You will notice that the lower jaw does not project as far forward as the upper jaw. This enables the whiting to dig and sift through the sand and mud so that it can find prey like marine worms, small crustaceans, bivalves and other small animals. Once the whiting has its prey in their mouth they have the ability of moving their lower jaw forward enough, enabling it to effectively bite in a downwards motion.


Therefore baits like beach, blood and tube worms, pink nippers, pipis, small live poddy mullet (5cm) and strips of squid and fillets of pilchards are great to target whiting.


Peak Fishing Times

One of the main questions that I continually get asked throughout my fishing classes is, when it is the best time to go fishing, what is the best tide, best rig, where is the best spot and what is best bait to use. Now this can be a very loaded question, as it can vary from whether you are fishing from a boat or off the shore, in the estuary or off a beach, during the day or at night and from spot to spot. It will also vary depending on what state you are fishing in. This is where you need to go to your local tackle shop and seel advice from.

Seen that I live in Sydney I will give you an idea on the peak times for Sand Whiting. The greatest concentration of fish can be found during the summer months. This is usually due to the fact that around this time they tend to have an urge to spawn and then feed to bulk up for coming winter months. The whiting will move from the estuaries and bays and concentrate in numbers around the river mouths, surf beaches and coastal bars. Then during the autumn to winter months they will tend to disperse throughout the estuary systems.

Not all sand whiting will spawn at the same time, as they can be influenced by a number of things. The amount of rainfall, the water temperature and the amount of available feed. A dry season will see the fish remain in the upper reaches of the creeks and rivers, but a winter that is fairly warm will see the whiting feed more freely.

Where to find them?

Whiting will forage for their food by actively digging into the sand or mud on shallow flats with their snouts, but they can also be seen actively scampering about in turbulent or fast running water. This is mainly due to the fact the water moving over these areas will help to dislodge worms, nippers, pippies and small crustaceans. I have fished for sand whiting in water a shallow as 15cm to 15 metres in depth in estuaries, bays, creeks, rivers, surf beaches and even close off-shore reefs.


When fishing the sand flats in the estuaries I have noticed that the smaller and larger whiting will be waiting in the channels for the first part of the tide to come up onto the flats. Once the water has started to flood over the flats it will be the smaller whiting that venture out first in search of food, while the larger whiting will tend to wait until there is more cover for them before they too move up onto the flats. As the tide starts to fall the large whiting will then work their way back to the deeper part of the channel, while the smaller ones will scurry about pick up food almost to the end.

In the surf the action of the waves will help dislodge the feed for the whiting and this is one of the reasons that you will find the whiting working close in behind the breaking waves. The other reason is that whiting don’t like to feed where the sand has been churned up as it gets in their gills.

For the new comer to surf fishing reading the beach can be one of the most frustrating aspects of fishing in the surf and one of the factors that will change the appearance of a surf gutter is the tide. For instance, if a gutter at high tide had waves breaking into it, the whiting would feed along the edge where the waves have just broken. But that same gutter at low tide may have some water in (now a pool), a sand bar on the seaward side and not be deep enough to hold any fish, that is until the tide starts to rise back over it. Much the same as a sand flat in the estuary.

Other spots that are worth trying are sandy areas that have weed beds scattered in and around them. The larger whiting will tend to patrol around the edge of these weed beds, while the smaller ones tend to dart in and out of the weed beds.

Insun - AC ProgramProtector - 660 x 82BIA 2017 Sydney 660x82 Fishing

Related Articles

Riviera 4800 Sport Yacht - Just move with the times
Honestly. I cannot tell you how well it works, because I simply never used it! Honestly. I cannot tell you how well it works, because I simply never used it! No. Not the boat itself... I actually spent many enjoyable hours on board Riviera’s delightful 4800 Sport Yacht. Right. What I was referring to was the autopilot, and the reason for that lies in the very sentence immediately preceding this one. Enjoyment.
Posted on 17 Jul
Debbie says the 8thP with Insurance is Patience (Pt.III)
We’re back to keep exploring the nature of TC Debbie and how she came to tell us about the eighth P of insurance We’re back to keep exploring the nature of TC Debbie and how she came to tell us about the eighth P of insurance. We’ve looked at what it was like to come into a disaster zone, seen the evidence of those that did the right thing, and how the area is already on the road to recovery. Now we’ll see why patience is the key in the aftermath of her fury.
Posted on 30 Apr
Debbie says the 8thP with Insurance is Patience (Pt.II)
We’re back to keep exploring the nature of TC Debbie and how she came to tell us about the eighth P of insurance We’re back to keep exploring the nature of TC Debbie and how she came to tell us about the eighth P of insurance. We looked at what it was like to come into a disaster zone and now we see the evidence of those that did the right thing, and how the area is already on the road to recovery.
Posted on 25 Apr
Debbie says the 8thP with Insurance is Patience
This all stems from the learnings in the widely read, ‘Debbie says there are 7 Ps and 1 C with insurance’. This all stems from the learnings in the widely read, ‘Debbie says there are 7 Ps and 1 C with insurance’. As time unfolds some more, we learn that indeed there are a lot of reasons you need to apply patience with both your dealings with your insurance company, and also all the many trades that are working feverishly to get all the jobs done.
Posted on 19 Apr
Pantaenius – Smooth sailing is more than a favourable weather forecast
Pantaenius get ready to launch into their fourth year operating in Australia As Pantaenius get ready to launch into their fourth year operating in Australia, we get to see why they continue to grow their happy crew of customers. Sitting down with Pantaenius Australia’s MD, Jamie MacPhail, you immediately get a sense that the smooth sailing is a direct result of both their unique product and the marketplace’s willingness to embrace the better mousetrap
Posted on 27 Apr 2016
Pantaenius Insurance - Gone in 180 seconds!
It was all ablaze and we were off in just on three minutes”, was how Noel Elliott described the scene 'It was all ablaze and we were off in just on three minutes”, was how Noel Elliott described the scene you see here. “The most horrendous thing is how quickly all the wiring burns. Remember, on a boat you’re encased in the stuff. It’s a bit like being in a single garage with wires in all the roof and wall cavities, as well as the floor.”
Posted on 20 Mar 2016
Pantaenius Insurance - Close is more than deep enough for some.
As the sun finishes its day low behind the Nelson Bay marina, many a soul gathers above the rocks at the weigh station As the sun finishes its day low behind the Nelson Bay marina, many a soul gathers above the rocks at the weigh station. They could be local, from nearby or way farther afield and it is definitely not a sense of the macabre that draws them in. Rather, it is fascination and wonder, because for the sweeping majority, this is as close as they will ever get to Mother Nature’s marvels of the deep.
Posted on 14 Mar 2016
Seabin- Saving the world, one marina at a time
Now and then you hear of an idea that’s so jaw-droppingly simple and yet so effective that it makes you shake your head Every now and then you hear of an idea that’s so jaw-droppingly simple and yet so effective that it makes you shake your head and wonder, ‘why not me’? Such is the case with the Seabin project, an automated marina rubbish bin that was designed to help remove plastic and other unsightly debris from the water.
Posted on 8 Jan 2016
Eco-warriors Sea-Bin crowd sharing critical stage with nine days to go
The automated marina cleaning SeaBin project has raised 86% of their target with 9 days left. The automated marina cleaning SeaBin project has raised $198,020 of $230,000.00 with nine days left on their Indiegogo crowdfunding platform, but they need more help now.
Posted on 29 Dec 2015
Don’t be a Tosser – Not your usual environmental article!!
The word ‘Tosser’ in the Oxford English dictionary means – ‘a person or thing that throws something’. The word ‘Tosser’ in the Oxford English dictionary means – ‘a person or thing that throws something’. There is no need for me to tell you the other meaning that is commonly used around the world. However in this article it will refer to both at the same time as someone who tosses trash into the ocean, truly is a tosser.
Posted on 3 Dec 2015