Last week we looked into the upcoming summer sand whiting season and the best baits for targeting these fish. Sand whiting move into our water ways between early September and late April and provide anglers with the sport of fast fighting on light tackle. Schools of whiting can be found foraging on the sand and mud banks throughout the river. The minimum size is 23 cm but any angler worth his salt would consider keeping larger fish as the bigger they are the better taste. These summer fish are probably the best quality eating fish in the river, with delectable sweet fillets.
Where to fish:
Noosa: The Frying Pan, Weyba Creek to Lake Weyba and in and around the entrances to Lake Cooroibah.
Maroochy: The Bli Bli Islands, between Bli Bli bridge and the bottom end of the channel markers, the mouths of Petrie and Eudlo Creeks, along the sand banks between Chambers Island and Channel Island, Black banks and off the bank at Cotton Tree.
Mooloolah: The sand basin between the Kawana rock wall and La Balsa Park, throughout Mountain Creek and along the shallow sand banks above McKenzie’s Bridge.
Caloundra: The shallow banks opposite Golden Beach, at the mouth of Bells Creek and along the banks opposite the mouth of Coochin Creek.
In the past two weeks reports have come in from local tackle stores that the Pumicestone Passage has been producing excellent catches of elbow slapper whiting on the banks between Golden beach and Coochin Creek. The yabby banks upstream of McKenzie’s Bridge have come alive in the past three weeks with quality whiting. The Maroochy River has been the last system on the coast to take off with average catches until the full moon past, following this, several quality fish have been weighed in up to the 500gram mark.
Tackle to use:
Look at investing in a longer fibre glass rod between 7 - 9 feet in length with a light whippy tip. This is ideal for loading up nicely when the fish takes the bait. The angler should only have to lift slowly to ensure a solid hook up and retrieve the fish. When whiting are biting finicky, a sensitive tip is essential. You may only see the tip quivering slightly when the fish start to swallow the bait, so always keep a close eye on your tip for movement. We recommend the Australian built Heritage rods by Wilson’s as a quality sensitive rod ideal for estuary whiting fishing.
Reels for whiting don’t need to be high in gear ratio or ball bearings, in fact any small Alvey or thread-line style reel will suffice, as you also don’t particularly need a fancy drag washer material to catch whiting. The advantage of Alvey reels is that you can back wind the spool or slowly forward wind the line, while keeping your finger on the line to feel any movement and adjust the reel accordingly as the fish plays with the bait to increase your hook up rate. A 500 sized Alvey is perfect for whiting fishing.
With line, go as light as possible so that you can feel every little movement on the end of your line. Thin lines or fluorocarbon line help as the fish are less likely to see them in the water. Don’t ever use braided line when bait fishing for whiting as this counteracts the long whippy rod and will make you pull the hook straight out of the fish’s mouth. We generally use between 4 and 8lb line, the thinner the better.
Use the smallest swivels possible, sized 6-2 red long shank or Mustad 4200D hooks and vary your sinker size between size 00 - 4 depending on the strength of the current. Rig it with a running sinker rig and have at least 30cm of leader.
Using popper lures to target summer and golden lined whiting is the latest craze to sweep the east coast of Australia’s recreational fishing scene. At this time of the year it’s not uncommon to see small prawns skipping across the surface as they are being chased by fish so it is no wonder 90% of poppers getting the best results are prawn-like and coloured. When small prawns are moving in or out of the river on the tide and work their way over the shallows whiting will ambush them on or below the surface much like a GT would ambush a herring. This is when very small poppers come into their own. Anglers flick the poppers over the shallow sand banks at the right stage of the flood or making tide so that you have at least 30-40cm of water and bloop away. Flick the popper over the bank, retrieve very slowly with the occasional bloop and if the whiting are hungry they should be all over it like a rash. Try varying your retrieval speed between a fast and slow until you find what the whiting like. It is best to target whiting on days when light wind blowing over banks and there is full sun light rather than over cast conditions.
LOCAL FISHING REPORT
Noosa: A few tailor on the southern side of Double Island Point and a few dart, whiting, tarwhine and bream about 27 km north of the third cutting at Teewah earlier in the week. Flathead throughout the lower reaches and trevally early morning on small poppers and fly in Woods Bay. Also some good whiting on the banks between the Frying Pan and Noosaville.
Maroochy: Chopper tailor, dart and flathead from Yaroomba to the North Shore. Golden trevally and flathead on soft plastics in South Channel and along the Black Banks. A few whiting on the making tide on the mud flats at the mouth of Eudlo Creek and flathead, grunter bream, estuary cod and bream on top of the tide in the Cod Hole.
Kawana: Tailor and spotty mackerel offshore from Alexandra Headland and Point Cartwright. Bream, whiting and flathead along the beaches. Bream, trevally and a few grunter in the canal system and mud crabs in the Mooloolah River.
Caloundra: Grassy sweetlip and small snapper near Bray Rock. Mackerel off the rocks at Moffat Beach. Good whiting out from Golden Beach and the mouth of Bells Creek and a few queenfish and trevally in Pelican Waters Canals.
George Tilgals targets whiting and also dart along the Maroochy North Shore using live worms and pippies which he digs himself!
Gary Gardiner hit the beach at Teewah for several tailor, the best one tipped the scales at 4kg!