The determined, pugnacious and finicky sand whiting - Part 2
by Gary Brown on 19 Feb 2013
A couple of weeks ago I gave you a bit of an insight into the sand whiting. I gave you a suggested book to read, some peak fishing times and where you may find a few. This week I will cover a suggested type of rod, some baits and a fishing recipe.
This father and son team were chasing whting , but only managed one Gary Brown
I find that a three or four wrap rod is ideal for targeting whiting, whether you are fishing off the beach, from a boat, in the estuaries or off the shore in a river or creek. It should have a medium to slow taper and the reel spooled with 3-5kg line. The length of the rod will need to vary from place to place and it would be up to you whether you use a side cast, centerpin or threadline reel.
Now as for sinker size, all you need to remember to use as little a weight the conditions will allow you to keep the bait moving and looking as natural as possible. When fishing in the estuaries I prefer to use either a channel or barrel sinker, as they tend to let the line move through the sinker hole much more freely.
If you are fishing in a narrow water way and there is not much movement in the flow of the water you may need to use no sinker at all. In a fast running river or creek I prefer to use a leader of between 50 to 180cm. This length of line may be hard to cast with a short rod, but it does allow the bait to move around freely and look more natural like.
For fishing in the surf I tend to use a double hook paternoster rig with a small snapper sinker as the weight. This allows me to cast much further as the sinker is the first thing that goes through the air. It also allows the hooks to trail the sinker causing fewer tangles in the rig. Once the rig has hit the bottom I can slowly wind it back in allowing me to have direct contact with both baits.
Try using a ball bearing or box swivel when fishing in a fast current, drifting in a boat or fishing off a beach. Both of these are designed in a way to stop the sand getting into them and clogging them up. I also like to use either a small bead or a piece of pink or red tubing as an attractant just on top of the hook.
Personally I prefer to use either blood, tube, squirt, beach or sometimes garden worms when I am fishing for sand whiting, but I have also had some great success when I have use fresh strips of squid and slimy mackerel, pippies, peeled prawns and mussels.
Caring and eating the catch
Many people that I talk to about what type of fish they like to eat will often say that they love eating fish, but don’t like the bones. Whiting do have a lot of small bones and they can be time consuming to remove. I find placing them into an ice slurry straight away keep the fish firm. Due to the fact the flesh of a whiting is very delicate you need to take the time to prepare it. Once I have filleted, taken out the rib cage and skinned the whiting I will spend a few minutes taking the bones out with a pair of tweezers and then place them back into the fridge.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am no culinary chef, but I do like a feed of Tempura Whiting with a white wine sauce. The important part to this recipe is that the water and the fillets have to be ice-cold and it is a good idea to put the fillets into the fridge while you are preparing the rest of the ingredients.
To make the batter all you need to do is mix the custard powder and the flour together in a bowl and then slowly add the iced cold water while slowly stirring. If you rush this part you will end up with a lot of lumps in the batter. Now if this does happen to you all you need to do is pouring the mixture into a sieve and flatten the lumps out. Then mix in the egg and place the mixture back into the fridge or freezer to keep it as cold as possible.
Now heat the oil in a large frypan or wok. The oil will need to be very hot. Take the boneless fillets and dip each fillet into the batter and then gently place them into the oil. Depending on the size of the fillets, one or two minutes would be the maximum cooking time. When golden in colour take them out of the pan and lay them onto a paper towel for a minute or two. This will drain off any excess oil.
Making the sauce is fairly easy. All you need to do is place the fish stock and the white wine into a pan and bring it to the boil. Simmer, while uncovered, until the stock is reduced by 2/3rds. Place bowl over gently simmering water to cook, while at the same time whisking constantly. Gradually add the butter while still whisking. As soon as the sauce thickens you should remove it from the heat. Season with the salt, pepper and lemon, and then pour the sauce over the fish. Serve with a light salad and you too can enjoy the sweet and light flavour of sand whiting.
Boneless fillets (four per person)
Plain flour (un sieved)
Half a teaspoon of custard powder
250 ml of fish stock
Four tablespoons of white wine
Three egg yolks
185grams of melted butter
Salt and pepper
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