Written by Andrew Badullovich. With the south coast “whiting on surface” season fast approaching – I thought I would share 3 tips to get you amongst the action!
Tip 1- tackle:
Select a rod with a fast tapper, and a line rating somewhere between 1-2kg, and 2-4kg. This rod should be at least 7’ long, with 7’6” providing longer casts. The rod needs to be soft in the tip, but not too sloppy. The tip needs to bend easily when working the rod during the retrieve in order to get your lure working correctly.
Lean towards spin reels which boast a fast retrieve ratio. Ratios such as 5.6:1 are good, as this allows you to crank fast should you require a speedy retrieve. Fast retrieves often work for whiting, so it makes sense to have a reel that can accommodate for this.
Braided line is great for this style of fishing, as it enhances cast length, and helps impart action into your lure. Leader length and size is not important, but I use a rod’s length of 4lb nylon monofilament which is connected to my 6lb J-Braid via a double uni-knot.
I prefer stick baits for whiting, and one of my favourites right now is the Slippery Dog by Daiwa…it’s a genuine fish catcher! One rod and reel combo which I have enjoyed using consists of the Ballistic X spin 702LS rod & Ballistic EX2000 reel. This combo conveys all the right stuff!
Tip 2 – weather:
Whiting can be hard to temp during calm weather periods, so I prefer it when the wind is blowing a genuine 20 knots plus. The wind will chop up the water surface, and allow the whiting to feed with less caution. Barometric pressure plays a big part, and whiting will feed harder during periods of high and rising barometric pressure. The water should be hovering around 20-23 degrees Celsius too, as cold water will shut the whiting surface bite down pretty quickly. Try to avoid casting shadows and silhouettes across the flats from your position in relation to the sun, as this can often spook whiting in shallow water.
I always fish, facing and casting into the sun.
Tip 3 – Move around:
Keep on the move until you find fish that are feeding. I see too many anglers standing in one spot, and presenting their offering over the same area for no return. Once a whiting has seen your lure and hasn’t eaten it, it won’t take a second look…so move on.
Look for small drop-offs, different coloured sand, and sporadic patches of seagrass, as these areas will hold whiting. I will wade in water depth ranging from waist deep to ankle deep, casting in all different directions until I find active fish. Try to cast your lure up-current and retrieve it with the natural tidal flow. Keep mixing up your retrieve until you get a reaction.
Typically, a constant fast retrieve works; however, I have caught many whiting by working the lure fast then pausing it before repeating the same process. Once you get a reaction or a bite, remember which technique worked so you can repeat the process.