WHITING ANGLERS LOOK FORWARD TO SUMMER
As the sunrises get earlier and sunsets are getting later; temperatures are creeping up to the high twenties making it standard practice for the three following things: a) dusting off the widebrim hat and locating some zinc, b) chilling down beers in the freezer to maintain that cool, crisp taste upon opening and lastly c) tuning up the long whippy whiting rod in preparation for a long summer targeting one of Queensland’s most sought after succulent-tasting, sporting species!
Most whiting anglers get excited after the September school holidays as this marks the start of the whiting season. Anyone who fishes the beach over this holiday period will vouch that whiting are usually seen in the gutters along surf beaches on the coastline as they are enroute to rivers and estuaries for their major spawning period which occurs in September in Queensland.
If you need a reminder of what to look for in a summer/sand whiting, then read on. Sand whiting (Sillago ciliata), also known as summer whiting and bluenosed whiting is mostly silver in colour with an olive green to light brown back. They have 15 to 17 soft rays on their anal fin and a conspicuous black dot at the base of the pectoral fin The ventral and anal fins are light yellow in colour, but this is not to be confused with the golden bands along the body of the Golden-lined whiting which anglers often misidentify. Sand whiting have been known to grow to a length of over 50 cm and a weight in excess of one kilo, however in local waters weigh-ins range from 300g to 750g most commonly. The minimum legal length is 23 cm and there is a combined bag limit of 30 across all whiting species.
Where to go: Whiting tend to forage for crustaceans and worms in water from a few centimetres in depth to the edge of a deep drop-off. Sunshine Coast waters are plentiful in structures and natural formations which appeal to the hungry sand whiting. Sand whiting feed in areas where the tide current helps them burrow for food and likely spots are working sand ripples, tailing sand banks, shallow and deep weed beds, over yabby beds, over sand flats where soldier crabs are found and even up under the mangrove roots. Any shallow beach gutter with an incoming tide can also fish well for whiting especially in times when the swell is quite calm and the water is crystal clear. Don't expect too much action from a whiting in dirty, weedy water or if the wind is up.
In Noosa, try the Frying Pan, Munna Point, Tewantin stretch, between the Lakes and those beautiful gutters that stretch as far as the eye can see from the first cutting northwards along the North Shore. Heading down the coastline; Marcus Beach to Stumers Creek at Coolum, Yaroomba, Marcoola and Mudjimba Beaches all provide nice gutters for whiting fishing during the day. In the Maroochy River; Cotton Tree, the Black Bank by Twin Waters jetty, shallow banks between Channel Island and Picnic Point, Godfreys Road and the mud flats found in Eudlo and Petrie Creeks are all notorious hot spots for this silver-coloured sortafter species. Further south in the Mooloolah and Kawana areas; the stretch along La Balsa Park to the canals works well during the week when there’s less boating traffic, along the yabbie banks upstream of McKenzie’s bridge and throughout the upper Mooloolah River are all highly recommended. Lastly in the Pumicestone Passage, hit spots like Coochin Creek, ‘The Skids’, Pelican Waters and Golden Beach are worth heading.
Bait to use: Favorite foods for a hungry whiting include yabbies, crabs, solder crabs, mussels, worms and prawns. Fresh or live is always best, however whiting can be likened to bream in the way they will snack on anything dead or alive. A variety of small hard-body poppers, minnows and prawn-shaped resin lures have been successful substitutes to bait. Soft plastics are also very much tailored towards whiting fishing these days with the likes of Berkley PowerBaits in bloodworm and sandworm varieties plus 2-inch Berkley Gulps in natural brown colours or fairly clear grubs varieties as well.
Use the tide current or a slow wind to keep the bait or lure moving so there is less chance of being taken by a sneaky bream. Fish any of the sand/mud banks (especially those that have many yabby holes) at the lower end of the river at the start of the making tide and work your way up stream as the tide floods in. Start on the edge of the sand banks and work your up onto the top of the bank with the tide. Work your way up to the top of lower or mid way up the middle reaches and once the tide turns work your back down towards the mouth on the ebb tide. If you can fish when the tides running strong at dawn, dusk or overnight your chances of catching big whiting increase greatly.
If fishing from a boat, anchor in shallow water and move often to follow the rising tide over the shallows. Cast the bait up current and allow the current to sweep it back past the boat and out to the full length of line which was originally cast.Drifting is another option providing there is not too much wind. By its nature drifting keeps the bait moving and gives good area coverage if looking for the fish. When drifting, always note where the fish are caught as the school may be feeding within a limited range and the drift can be shortened to concentrate on the most productive location.
So get out on the next making or fallinig tide and take a nice cold beer, wide-brim hat, zinc and of course your whippy whiting rod and welcome the whiting to take a bite!
LOCAL FISHING REPORT
Noosa: Dart, whiting and tailor from Rainbow Beach. Trevally and chopper tailor in the lower reaches on the top of the tide. Mangrove jacks in Woods Bay. Tailor and trevally along the Tewantin reach. Large numbers of whiting in the Frying Pan. Mud Crabs in the canals.
Maroochydore: There is still a few tailor around the cod hole on live bait. Yaroomba has been producing a few big jew at night and bream and tailor at dusk. Good numbers of dusky flathead around Goat and channel Islands. Whiting to 35cm from Bli Bli. A few mud crabs in the creeks.
Kawana: Flathead to 65cm opposite Minyama Island. Jacks from the weir. Trevally from La Balsa. Bream to 1kg and tailor to 1.7kg from the boat moorings. Good size bream and a few whiting around McKenzie’s Bridge. Sand crabs in the lower reaches.
Caloundra: Mangrove Jacks in Bells creek. Golden trevally and bream from the boardwalk. Trevally and queenfish in the Pelican Waters canals. Flathead up to 60cm from the inside of the bar. Bream from Military jetty. Whiting and bream from Golden Beach.
Summer whiting are a key bread and butter estuary species that provide anglers with hours of fun on light gear. Joseph, Sam, Thomas & Lachlan caught these summer whiting on live worms in the lower reaches of the Maroochy River.
Michael Warren fished the lower reaches of the Mooloolah River around the sand basin with peeled prawn for this 400g specimen.
A couple of Maroochy River elbow slapper caught on live blood worm from the bli bli flats