Welcome to our detailed fishing guide on How to catch whiting. Whiting known locally as Tings or KG’s are long, slender, and slimy fish with small mouths. These top table fish with fun fighting qualities make them one of the most popular fish species targeted in Victoria. They come in a few different forms but the most common is King George Whiting. They are found in good numbers in Port Phillip Bay and Western Port in shallow weedy areas. You will also find them in estuary systems. They’re a great bread-and butter-species to target by boat, kayak, or land. Whiting is an all-year-round prospect and can be caught at any time of the day, however, they are more commonly caught in Summer and Autumn and during high tide.
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Whiting Facts & Catch Limits
Whiting comes in a variety of forms but the most common are King George Whiting and smaller grass whiting. Locally they are found in good numbers in Port Phillip Bay and Western Port in shallow weedy areas. Whiting is an all year round prospect and can be caught at any time of the day, however, they are more commonly caught in Summer and Autumn and during high tide. Scientific name – Sillaginidae/Odacidae.
- The local legal size limit for whiting is 27cm
- The maximum daily bag limit for whiting is 20 per person.
- Whiting are great to catch on bait, soft plastics, and lures
- Whiting can grow over 60cm in size however most whiting caught in Port Phillip Bay and Western Port will generally be between 25 and 40 cm.
- Whiting is a prime table fish and is considered to be one of the best-tasting fish locally.
- It takes a while to learn how to fillet them quickly, but it’s well worth the effort.
Tips to catch Whiting
We highly recommend watching our whiting fishing masterclass below. A detailed 30-minute video on how to catch whiting. Including whiting characteristics, where to find whiting, berley techniques, fishing rod reel and tackle selection, rig setup, bait options and more. We then hit the water and bag out on a good feed of whiting followed by running you through some easy filleting techniques.
Where to find whiting
Whiting is a school fish that congregate in big numbers. The tricky part of targeting them n your boat or kayak is finding them. Often trips out in the water might take many moves before finding them. Often when you finally locate the school the action will be frantic.
Whiting typically resides in shallow areas between 2 and 6 meters deep. They love ecosystems which is a mix of clear water, heavy weed, and sandy patches. This creates food and shelter for them. Therefore, these are the best spots to target when fishing for them. Other species such as squid will also be a common find in these types of environments which isn’t a bad thing at all. A good way to identify these shallow weedy areas is by watching your sounder, or by moving slowly in your boat and looking over the side. The darker color changes are a great indication that you’re on top of weedy areas. This works particularly well on calm clear days. Also, keep an eye out for drop-offs or sudden changes in depth. This is also a good area where whiting will reside.
I typically have a handful of whiting spots that I know fishes well throughout the year. Success often comes from being diligent in fishing a spot for 15 minutes and if it’s not productive then picking up anchor and moving to another spot close by and trying there for 15 minutes. Continually repeating this process until you find a productive area.
Best time to catch Whiting ( Seasons )
In Victoria, Whiting is an all-year prospect however they are more active in Summer and Autumn. They are often best targeted at Dawn/Dusk and on tide changes. Whiting can be caught all year round however they are more active in the warmer months. December through to March seem to be the most productive locally. From a fishing point of view, the best times to target them are the first hours of sunrise and the last hours of sunset and on the peak of tide changes. Often between tides in slack water, the bite can go quiet.
Best Baits to Catch Whiting
Our best bait recommendations include pipis, small strips of squid, prawns, and sandworms. The are several ways to present baits for whiting. Either a running sinker rig or single dropper rig with a 1/0 circle hook ( there are many hooks designed specifically for whiting such as the Black Magic KL 1/0 ). Paternoster rigs are also a popular choice. Remember whiting have small mouths so don’t use hooks that are too large. The rig choice will be dependent on where you are fishing and the conditions such as tidal strength. Where possible fish with as little weight. When land-based you may need a heavy sinker to cast out as far as you can.
Remember to berley often and fish an area for 15 to 20 minutes. If you’re not getting catches then lift the anchor and move onto a new spot. It’s often a case of several moves before finding them.
- Squid Strips or Squid Candles ( tentacles )
- Peeled prawn
- Raw chicken
- Earth/scrub worms
Watch this video to learn how to make your own DIY Whiting Rigs
Best Soft Plastics and lures to Catch Whiting
Surprisingly soft plastics are great choices for targeting whiting. Ideally worm, crab, and minnow imitation plastics such as gulp turtleback worms. Worked slowly and the whiting hits will really surprise you as these small slender fish can pack a punch. The use of stinger hooks can be important to increase catch rates as you may find your plastic nibbled on with low strike rates. Whiting also responds well to small surface poppers and pencil lures in shallow areas.
- Berkley gulp turtleback worm 4 inch in pumpkinseed
- Berkley Crabby
- Munores 4-inch curltail in caramel eclair
- Berkely fat hollow sandworm
- Zman Grub
- Munroes 2.75 inch paddle tail in glass monkey
- Bassday SugaPenn 70mm
- Daiwa Slippery Dog
- OSP Bent Minnows
- Storm Gomoku popper
Learn how to catch whiting with soft plastics by watching this detailed instructional guide by FishingMad
Berley for whiting
This one is a debatable topic. I fish regularly with some local whiting gurus who have mixed opinions about the effectiveness of whiting. Some anglers will swear that berley is 100% essential to bring whiting into the area and get them into a feeding mode. Whilst others have argued that berley simply brings in pest species such as banjos, toadfish, and leather jackets. I have found that whiting responds really well to Berley. You can easily make your own, something as simple as chicken pellets, Tuna oil, and some pilchards will work well. You can also buy premade whiting berley. I have used the Wilson whiting magnet and Gotcha whiting pellets for some time and both work well. They work even better if you mix the berley with some pilchard chunks, crushed-up pipis, and tuna oil or a fish-attracting scent with them. This will help break up the pellets and create an awesome scent trail.
We recommend using a metal whiting cage. As per our video above it has metal edging with an inner layer of mesh which is a great way to distribute the berley. We will typically drop or berley cage at the front of the boat which prevents your lines from getting tangled and ensures the berley trail is where your baits are. You don’t need fancy expensive outfits to catch whiting. However whiting fishing requires a subtle finesse. Using ultra-light gear is appropriate but also makes catching whiting a lot more fun. Therefore, we recommend a light 1-3, 2-4 or 1-4 kilo spin rod. These are typically around 7 feet in length with a sensitive nibble tip so you can see all those bites and inquiries with ease. Then couple the rod with a light 1000, 2000, or 2500 size spin reel, spooled with 4 pounds or 6-pound line and leader. This can be either braid or a monofilament line.
Whiting fishing rigs
There are 2 common rigs to use when targeting whiting the running sinker rig or the paternoster rig. You can buy premade ones or make them yourself. When bait fishing a simple running rig with a small sinker to swivel, then 40cm of 4-pound leader to a small baitholder long shank hook, or a paternoster rig with 2 hooks and a size sinker depending on your conditions. Watch our video below which walks you through how to make your own whiting rigs. Starting with a running sinker rig than a paternoster rig.
Watch this video to learn how to make your own DIY Whiting Rigs
How to fillet a whiting
Whiting is a prime table fish and is considered to be one of the best-tasting fish around. It takes a while to learn how to fillet them quickly, but it’s well worth the effort. Watch our video at the top of the article and skip to the 24:54 second mark and we show you how to properly fillet, clean, and skin whiting perfect for eating.
Hotspots to catch Whiting
Whiting can be caught throughout Port Phillip Bay and Western Port. Some known hotspots include
- Port Phillip Bay
- Western port
- Corio Bay
- Beaumaris Pier
- Mornington Pier
- Barwon Heads
- Kerferd road pier
- Kirks Point
- Queenscliff Pier
- Wedge Spit
- Clifton Springs
- Middle Spit
- Sandringham Breakwall
- Mordialloc Pier
- Flinders Pier
- Geelong Grammar lagoon
- Cunningham Pier
- St Helens
- Anderson inlet
- St Leonards
- Portarlington Jetty
- Mount Martha Rocks
- Sorrento Pier
- Dromana Pier
- Portsea Pier
- Blairgowrie Pier
- Rye Pier
You can obtain a free Victorian recreational fishing guide from the Victorian Fisheries Authorities
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