How To Catch Whiting

King George Whiting, next to Snapper and Flathead, has got to be one of the most sought-after saltwater fish in Southern Australia. They put up a bit of a…


Scientific Name: Sillago sp

King George Whiting, next to Snapper and Flathead, has got to be one of the most sought-after saltwater fish in Southern Australia.

They put up a bit of a fight, can be quite common and have great textured flesh for the table.

A paternoster rig is probably one of the best rigs for targetting Whiting. These can be augmented with glow beads, coloured skirting and ultra-violet material. Whiting will take a variety of fleshy baits and soft plastic lures.


King George Whiting, At A Glance

Whiting can be a bit timid.

Increasingly I find busy summer piers have too many swimmers and jet skis to be conducive to whiting fishing.

Some of the quieter beaches or even a small boat like a tinny or a kayak can be more productive.

That’s not to say it’s not possible to pier fish for King George Whiting. Because it absolutely is.

First light and in some places after dusk.

The times of the day when it’s generally a lot quieter, other than our fellow fisho’s.

Key Points
  • Peak Season: November – April in Victoria. Tend to mirgrate to South Australia during cooler months.
  • Method: Bait fishing using a paternoster or running sinker rig.
  • Best Baits: Pipis, mussels, bass yabbies, squid.
  • Times & Tides: Morning or late afternoon. A few hours either side of high tide.
  • Hot Spots: Sorrento Pier, Altona
  • Areas: Beaches, estuaries, piers, rocks, breakwaters and boats. Whiting are widespread but tend to prefer areas with seagrasses.
  • Catching whiting requires a different set of skills to that of a fisho targetting a species like a flathead. Not that you can’t catch both – more that you shouldn’t try to catch both using the same techniques.

    As a timid schooling fish, you’ll need a more subtle approach.

    This is reflected in our choice of rigs, bait presentation and fishing spot target.

    Many fisho’s catch this species from the shore every year. However, I’ve found more success from a boat. Your mileage may vary.

    In terms of table quality – the flesh is delicate and tasty. In short – superb!


    Seagrass For Whiting

    Identifying Seagrass For Whiting

    King George Whiting, sometimes referred to as “kidney slappers” because of they of how they slap the sides of the angler when you’re taking them off the hook are an excellent table fish.

    I’ve seen good-sized whiting off Altona pier, in Melbourne, in January. This was first light on a very warm day. Before I could get setup swimmers started diving off the end and the whiting school was gone.

    So, land-based Whiting fishing around Melbourne is definitely possible.


    Whiting will most often be found in close proximity to seagrasses.   So choosing a location with seagrass for whiting is a good starting point.

    While using Google Maps to catch Whiting won’t let you see the fish – it will let you see the topography – and that’s better than guessing!!

    Tools To Help Identify A Location With Seagrass For Whiting

    This is where satellite imagery, using a tool like Google Maps comes in.

    One of the most useful and cool tools to be made available is mapping technology such as Google Maps and the availability of Global Positioning for anybody with a smartphone (or computer if you’re at home.)

    This is something you can use for any fish species.  Onshore or even on a boat in some places.

    Plus – you can plan the spots you want to target at home. Mark them in using a variety of software – including many fish finders – and you’re done.

    By examining the location you are intending to fish you can often clearly see reefs, rocks, holes and seagrass areas.

    Seagrass areas are often slightly darker than sandy areas, but not quite as dark as holes, rocks and reefs.

    So this method increases your chances of locating good areas of seagrass for whiting fishing.

    Seagrass areas are literally King George Whiting central.  You are going to find them elsewhere, there are no hard and fast reliable rules.  But it is the most likely place to find them.



    Whiting Maps

    Using Google Maps To Catch Whiting

    A bit of an overlooked secret…

    When it comes to locating great fishing spots part of the battle for shore-based fishing is seeing the layout of the water.

    Boaties have their fish finders and other cool tools that don’t work when you’re shore-based. But – if you have a smartphone then satellite mapping technology is what you need.

    Using Google Maps to catch whiting is a free and easy way to get finding likely spots.


    While using Google Maps to catch Whiting won’t let you see the fish – it will let you see the topography – and that’s better than guessing!!

    Choosing A Location:  “Secret Whiting Tip”

    One of the most useful and cool tools to be made available is mapping technology such as Google Maps and the availability of Global Positioning for anybody with a smartphone (or computer if you’re at home.)

    This is something you can use for any fish species.  Onshore or even on a boat in some places.

    Plus – you can plan the spots you want to target at home. Mark them in using a variety of software – including many fish finders – and you’re done.

    Whiting will most often be found in close proximity to seagrasses.   So choosing a location with seagrasses is a good starting point.

    This is where satellite imagery, using a tool like Google Maps comes in.

    By examining the location you are intending to fish you can often clearly see reefs, rocks, holes and seagrass areas.

    Seagrass areas are often slightly darker than sandy areas, but not quite as dark as holes, rocks and reefs.

    So this method increases your chances of locating Whiting is a great way to find Whiting if you’re fishing from land.

    Seagrass areas are literally King George Whiting central.  You are going to find them elsewhere, there are no hard and fast reliable rules.  But it is the most likely place to find them.



    Whiting Rigs

    Unless there’s a really strong current a paternoster rig is the rig I choose for Whiting fishing in most instances.

    Where there is a strong current a running sinker – or a hybrid paternoster rig with a running sinker is the ticket.

    With Whiting, the goal is to get your bait just above the seagrass.

    A Paternoster Rig is the ideal way to do this.

    The sinker sits below, allowing the bait to move freely above.


    When it comes to Whiting rigs the Paternoster is probably the most common rig you’ll see most experienced fishos using for Whiting.

    Just enough weight to hold it in place.  Allowing your bait – or lure – to dangle in front of feeding shoals of King George Whiting.

    Learning how to tie your own whiting rigs is an important skill.  Tying a paternoster isn’t hard, but does require practice.  So in the interests of helping you to get started fast – I’m going to suggest you buy some pre-tied paternoster whiting rigs.

    You’ll find they are professionally tied, so quite strong.  They use knots that help in avoiding tangles and they’re actually incredibly cheap to buy.

    So cheap, in fact, I just buy them these days, only tying if I run out.  This is because they mostly come with a good choice of hook sizes for KG whiting – and a sinker and swivel already attached.

    A quick caveat:

    Generally, I use the Jarvis Walker pre-tied rigs.  There are others, including the excellent Black Magic range.  I find the Black Magic rigs to be a little too expensive at some outlets.

    While unquestionably quality made it’s just to easy to cast, snag and lose your rig.   At around the $15, at some tackle shops, I think the, roughly $4 Jarvis Walker rigs to be much better value for money.

    This is down to personal taste and experience.  You may have or develop a different view.  If so – that’s fantastic!  I’d love to hear all about it from you in the comment section.

    Just tie one knot from your mainline to the rig and you’re ready to bait up and start casting.

    The JW rigs don’t come with the skirts and beads – but there’s is nothing stopping you from adding those yourself, if you wish to do so.

    I bulk buy these rigs.  That means I carry half a dozen in my tackle box, with a few different other kinds, like running etc as well.  

    Basically so I can change to different species and conditions depending on where I’m going to be fishing.

    Generally, I’ll carry rigs comprised of either a size 6 or size 4 hook.  I tend to lean towards the size 6 due to the shank length being about right for the soft plastic lures I use.

    The sinker size is a 30g on these rigs.  This gives you enough weight for casting and holding the rig down in most conditions.



    Whiting Bait

    Whiting Bait, Lures & Attractant

    Traditional natural, flesh baits are a popular choice for Whiting.

    More recently soft plastic lures have been responsible for some good bags of Whiting, too.

    Regardless of the bait, fresh, frozen or artificial, berley (chum) and attractants should never be overlooked.

    Sandworms (aka Beachworms) are a popular Whiting bait.

    As are pippis, prawns and tenderised squid (Calamari.)

    In soft plastics, I tend to choose the Sandworm style.

    These are look-alikes for the real thing in terms of shape, colour and texture.


    Berley, Berley Gotta Use Berley

    I always recommend using berley.  

    A combination of whatever you’re using as bait, breadcrumbs or chicken pellets.

    Either dip them in one of the tuna oil/aniseed juice mixes or buy a pre-mixed berley pellet bag.

    Don’t berley enough to take away from your bait.  

    Just enough to get the fish in.  For this reason, a berley distributor is ideal as it slows down the feed distribution.

    KG Whiting Bait – Add Attractant

    In terms of attractants – my favourite remains Squidgy S Factor.  I always carry a tube on me.

    Rub some between your thumb and index finger.  Smear it onto your bait or lure.

    Cast out – and you’ll soon see why I swear by it.  It rarely lets me down.

    If you’ve ever seen aquarium fish going crazy, zooming around when there’s food in the tank at feeding time, this is kind of the effect S Factor gives you.

    A feeding frenzy, according to the manufacturer.  For once, the marketing department is not really exaggerating.  I used it and have found it works, even, for fussy King George Whiting, extremely well.

    In fact – the reason I recommend it is I’ve found it makes the difference, more often than not, between not even a nibble or bites – and actually catching fish.

    As a bonus – snapper, flathead, bream, mullet and more seem to love it too!



    Knowing When A Whiting Has Taken Your Bait

    Knowing When A Whiting Has Taken Your Bait

    Some species of the fish lunge and run – so you really know they’re there.

    Others seem to strike and tug a bit.

    Whiting is a little different.

    It can be difficult to tell when Whiting has taken your bait.

    You need to pay attention to your rod and line.


    Berley, Berley Gotta Use Berley

    I always recommend using berley.  

    A combination of whatever you’re using as bait, breadcrumbs or chicken pellets.

    Either dip them in one of the tuna oil/aniseed juice mixes or buy a pre-mixed berley pellet bag.

    Don’t berley enough to take away from your bait.  

    Just enough to get the fish in.  For this reason, a berley distributor is ideal as it slows down the feed distribution.

    KG Whiting Bait – Add Attractant

    In terms of attractants – my favourite remains Squidgy S Factor.  I always carry a tube on me.

    Rub some between your thumb and index finger.  Smear it onto your bait or lure.

    Cast out – and you’ll soon see why I swear by it.  It rarely lets me down.

    If you’ve ever seen aquarium fish going crazy, zooming around when there’s food in the tank at feeding time, this is kind of the effect S Factor gives you.

    A feeding frenzy, according to the manufacturer.  For once, the marketing department is not really exaggerating.  I used it and have found it works, even, for fussy King George Whiting, extremely well.

    In fact – the reason I recommend it is I’ve found it makes the difference, more often than not, between not even a nibble or bites – and actually catching fish.

    As a bonus – snapper, flathead, bream, mullet and more seem to love it too!


    Whiting Video

    Additional Information & Corrections for King George Whiting, How To Catch More Using The Best Rigs

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    Dave
    Dave

    G'day!

    I'm Dave, I live and fish in and around Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
    When it comes to fishing I love going out to land-based fishing spots, heading out in the tinny (aka an Aluminum Boat) and kayak fishing.

    I've been fishing since I was a teen. Beginning way back in the 1970s. It was a hobby I picked up myself as my family certainly had no interest. Making me the black sheep! My favourite fish is Flathead and Snapper. Though I'm partial to Flake (Gummy Shark) and Calamari too! While I enjoy fishing for freshwater species like Redfin and Murray Cod I prefer eating saltwater species. They're just so mouth-wateringly tasty!

    I love writing about some of my favourite Melbourne Fishing Spots while fishing around Victoria. As well as the tackle I use and test.
    If you see me while you're out fishing say "G' day" - I'll be the one in a bush hat.

    When I'm not fishing I'm working on my websites, such as Getfished, or writing computer software (my profession.)

    I try to be as accurate as possible on this website. Most of the information is based on personal experience. However, if you spot an error or think there's something that I should add - no worries! Please use the Contact Form.