As Spring draws to a close with Summer is only a fortnight away, it is always worthwhile review the weather conditions to prepare for the best time of year for fishing on the coast. The past two months the Sunshine Coast has certainly earned it's name with more than it's average of seven hours sunshine a day. Only a smattering of wet days has kept waters crystal clear and and provided enticing invitations for baitfish and schools of prawns to enter the river systems.
Whiting in this weather are to be the pick of the fish to target. They are in good numbers and biting well along most stretches of the beach and into the rivers too.
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.
Bait to use: Favourite 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 falling 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!