Catching Whiting
"Pick any stretch of beach along our extensive coastline, cast a small piece of shelled prawn into the wash and see what you catch! I reckon the chances of it being a whiting are pretty good. Whiting are found all the way around Australia and along with bream are our most sought after fish species"
Author: Paul Willis

Online fishing tackle

Pick any stretch of beach along our extensive coastline, cast a small piece of shelled prawn into the wash and see what you catch! I reckon the chances of it being a whiting are pretty good. Whiting are found all the way around Australia and along with bream are our most sought after fish species.

Around Perth the five main species of whiting are king george whiting, sand whiting, western school whiting, trumpeter whiting and yellowfin whiting. All of these species are great little fighters for their size and known by many as the sweetest eating fish in the sea.

King george:
King george are the most sought after whiting species in the southern part of Australia and in W.A the range from the S.A border as far north as Jurien Bay.

King george are our largest growing whiting, anglers who target bottom dwellers in deep water often pick up huge king george to over 2kg on great big 8/0 hooks baited with a lump of octopus.

More commonly they are targeted in the shallows of Cockburn Sound and broken ground out near Rottnest Is.

King george arenít usually easy to catch, however they are far more prolific especially around Augusta, Walpole, Demark and Albany.

These tasty little critters often enter estuaries and river systems from the Swan River down. The Swan fishes best for king george in october/november. All the fish that I have seen caught have been in the East Fremantle area and the largest fish was 850gm.

The Best baits for king george ranges from month to month and of corse where youíre fishing but in general prawn, cockles, mulies pieces, whitebait and fresh squid are the best options.

Running sinker rigs are the best option when fishing shallow water for king george as they can be quite picky and at times only suck gently on the bait driving the angler mad. The boaties who fish deeper water tend to prefer the double dropper rig using two chemically sharpened size 4 longshanks and quite a sizeable sinker to stop the rig from drifting about to much.

Never strike a bite straight away, always allow a few metres of slack line so the fish can take the bait down where your chances of the hook setting are far greater. King george have the best knack of spitting hooks next to the boat or shore and for that reason always carry a landing net when chasing them.

Yellowfin whiting grow to about 600g and are found almost exclusively found around shoreline areas and river systems. Yellowfin whiting are the most sought after whiting species in the Swan Murray and Blackwood rivers.

The best way of snaring a feed of yellowfin is to start by using the lightest possible tackle. I use a 2kg main line and a 3kg fluoro-carbon trace, and have found I get far more fish and have a lot more fun landing them.

The best bait for yellowfin are with out doubt worms. Blood worms, sand worms, tube worms and squirt worms are sometimes hard to come by, and half the challenge of catching yellowfin is locating the best possible worms.
Shelled prawn and blue sardines also work well for whiting in the ocean, but in order to maximise your catch you must be prepared to tread carefully and cast out only 3 or four metres into the shoreline wash. This is where whiting feed on small worms and crustaceans that get exposed by the surging wave action.

The best time to fish for yellowfin is dawn and dusk, they seem to be visible during the daylight hours but generally far more timid.

Unlike most other species in the Swan, I have had far more success on yellowfin during an outgoing rather than an incoming tide, and the fish on average are much larger in size than the fish I encounter during incoming tide.

Yellowfin also take tiny lures like RMG 35 scorpions and little soft plastics with a small sharp jig head with minimal weight. Marabou jigs work well also, and are sometimes the only artificial option when blowies rip everything else to shreads.

The best metro beach spots include South beach, City beach, Swanbourne and the sandy holes between broken reef north of Trigg.

Sand Whiting:
Sandies are the most commonly caught whiting species along our coast. They donít grow very big, nor are they a challenge to catch, but they are very good tucker if you donít mind a few bones.

Many anglers only see sandies as bait, or the little pickers that destroy their mulies, but they are a heap of fun for kids when there is nothing bigger around.

The bigger sandies seem to found offshore where fish to 300g can be caught in numbers. The renowned whiting grounds off Perth where most anglers travel a fair distance to target them are between Cottesloe and Scarborough and only a few kilometres offshore.

Sandies eat just about anything that you throw at them, and they can often plague the area where youíre fishing and strip any soft baits off the hooks in seconds. The secret to catching the biggest fish in the school is to up your hook size to about size 6 and use bigger and tougher baits. This way the little guys get there fill and then the larger fish see the commotion and take the remainder of your bait.

Squid, ox-heart, salted prawns and bits of themselves are the best baits, and if you do intend on targeting them, and they bite anytime of the day, and also at night especially around well lit structures like jetties.

Sand whiting make great live bait for mulloway and dead baits for deep sea fishing for bottom dwellers like dhuies and snapper.

A good way of picking up sandies for bait while your target tailor and mulloway is to put a mini dropper with a tiny hook off your standard surf rig. Just about every time you wind in to check the bait, there is a little whiting pinned on the small hook. The small flapping whiting also attracts larger prey to your bait.

Western school whiting:
Schoolies seem to come and go from year to year, and these days seem to go more than they come!

I havenít caught a school whiting for a few years now and I wonder where they have gone? This particular species of whiting seem to often be mistaken for yellowfin whiting because of there simular size and habitat. I have caught five species of whiting in a day from Lancelin jetty. Sand, yellowfin, school, king george and a weed whiting(which looks more like a lovechild of a whiting and a wrasse).

The biggest of the whiting I caught that day was a school whiting around 350gm, and the best ways to distinguish between a yellowfin and school whiting(apart from the yellowfins) is the school whiting has a defined fork shaped tail and usually a series of light brown markings along its back. The schoolie, is also far more aggressive species than yellowfin and take a wider variety of baits.

Like sand whiting this species is not as prolific in larger rivers, and if so rarely venture far upstream.

Trumpeter Whiting:
Trumpeter whiting grow to about 300gms and are a estuarine species that are often called for sand whiting or even king george because of there dark blotchy appearance. They have a very broad body and distinctive yellow fins and are most commonly found in larger rivers and mariners like Hillarys, Mindarie and fishing boat harbour. The Swan has more trumpeter whiting than any other whiting species and they venture upstream as far as Guildford.

The best bait for these little guys is shelled prawn without a doubt, in fact they prefer prawn to live blood worms. They also eat cockles whitebait and mulie bits when thy are in the right frame of mind.

Soft plastics can work at times also but seem to be very picky with colours and styles of tails.

A few last tips for all species of whiting is to never berley to much, in fact I choose not to at all for the fear of attracting pests like herring(classed as pests when targeting whiting), trumps and blowies, and always use the freshest of baits because like you and me, whiting to prefer eating fresh food.

Ií m sure most of people who fish Australia have caught a whiting before, and if not maybe you should take on a little of this information, enjoy the summer and catch your self a feed.