Whiting Fishing Gold Coast
( Ghosts of the flats.) Gold coast whiting fishing Written by Anthony Cougran
The SEQ and Far northern NSW have a many different species of whiting.
These are the Most common in the Gold coast area:
It’s name is taken from it’s rough scales. Found from northern NSW around the top end to Geraldton in WA. Has a size limit of 23cm and a bag of 30 in QLD and no size and a bag of 20 in NSW. They can reach lengths of 45cm.
( Sillago analis)
Found from northern NSW around the top end to Geraldton in WA. Has a size limit of 23cm and a bag of 30 for QLD and no size in NSW and a bag of 20. Can reach the size of 31cm.
( Sillago cilata)
Found right up the east coast. From Victorian boarder to the cape. Has a size limit of 23cm and a bag of 30 in QLD and 27cm and a bag of 20 in NSW. They can reach lengths of 51cm.
Found from Victorian boarder around the top end to Perth in WA. Has a no size limit and a bag of 20 in QLD and no size limit and a bag of 20 in NSW. Can reach lengths of 30cm.
( Sillago maculata)
Found from Victorian boarder around the top end to Perth in WA. Has no size limit and a bag of 30 in QLD and no size limits and a bag of 20 in NSW. Can reach lengths of 30cm.
A lot of the whiting species are schooling fish and will hunt in packs or schools. They are some what co dependent on other species to feed because most of their food sources are buried. So they will shadow curtain fish and feed off any yabbies, worms or crustaceans that are brought to the surface by stingrays, sawfish, shovel noses. They will also shadow packs of trevally, bream, queen fish and even flathead and flounder. Anything that disturbs the sand and hunts in that skinny water.
Whiting are arguably pound for pound one of the hardest fighting fish for their size and weight. They always put up a great fight on the right gear. Very light gear is all that is needed, and results in so much fun when fighting these little ghosts of the flats.
Where to find Gold coast whiting
Most Gold coast whiting are found on sand banks on the run in tides. The more yabby holes the more the whiting on the bank. They will also hang around the sand patches near weed. They love sitting behind little ledges and drop offs on the sand banks and can be seen sitting in formation behind a mound or drop off on those banks waiting for bait to flow by.
Best baits for whiting fishing Gold coast
Yabbies has always been the stand out bait for whiting fishing and are so easy to collect. All you need is a yabbie pump and a low tide. Find the best banks with the most yabbie holes. Then start sucking them out. Make sure you keep changing the water in your bucket regularly. So they stay in tip top order. A sieve helps with this if digging in the water. Be sure to release any females with eggs or any soft shell ones to keep your sand bank healthy with good numbers.
Again another exceptionally good bait for whiting. Beach worms are really hardy and stays on the hook well. Live is always best. You can catch your own at most beach in the SEQ and NSW. All you need is a bag of burley or some old frames. A pippie or bit of firm bait. Run out tide is best. Use burley to get them to stick their heads up in the sand. Then use the pippie and a good strong hand or pair of pliers to get them out. There is a bit of a knack to it. But you will get the hang of it after a while. Best placed in dry sand in a bucket or bag.
Again up there with the top baits. Blood worms fish very well at night for whiting. You can also catch your own blood worms all you need is a shovel or pitch fork. Sometimes you can get them with a yabbie pump. But a shovel and pitch fork is best. Head down to the mangroves near the roots and start digging. They won’t be too deep. Up to a 300mm or roughly a shovel depth. Again nice clean water is required for blood worms to keep them alive and fresh.
Soldier crabs small shrimp
Solider crabs and small shrimp also work well on whiting. Smaller the better. Solider crabs you can find on some sandbanks and beaches in the rivers and shrimp around the weed banks. Using a small bait trap is best. Try dry dog food and bread as bait. Works a treat.
Small pieces of squid strips are a great way to get a feed in the bay. Fishing light weight patanosta style rig set up around the Rous, Morton, north straddle, Sandgate and Redcliffe cleans up on the whiting.
Artificial’s for Gold coast whiting fishing
If you have ever tried surface lures for whiting. You know how addictive it can be. A fast retrieve is what is required for a reaction bite and when you have 5-8 good size elbow slippers fighting over your lure in a foot of water. You know the thrill of surface lure fishing for these ghosts.
Some really deadly surface lures on the market at the moment. Suga pen and MMD splash prawn are definitely the stand out lures for whiting. But most small poppers and stick baits lures work well. It’s more about the retrieve then the specific lure. High rod tip and consistent winding. But mix it up a bit too. Slower wobbling rod tip also works well. But if there is a pack behind it and not hitting it. Wind faster.
Trolling or working hard bodies
Small hard bodies also work well and a few whiting get caught while trolling hard bodies for flathead. Most 30-50mm hard bodied offerings will work. If it’s banging into the bottom and kicking up sand even better. Micro mullets fish really well for whiting.
Small light weight plastics are also a very good way to put a few whiting in your bag. 2-3” plastics in paddle tails or jerk shads. But wriggle tails and worms work better. Wriggle tails look like a worm when it’s resting on the bottom. Blood worm in colour is best.
Eco gear ZX40’s worked in the deeper channels are also deadly on whiting, especially winter whiting. The small prawn shape and bounce of the blades really get the whiting going and they can’t resist to reaction bite it.
Set ups for chasing whiting
Bait set up
So back in the day we all used to use 9-11ft rod and Alveys spoiled with 10-15lb mono to fish for whiting. Things have changed now. So now we a few different setup. I still like to run an Alvey for bait fishing for whiting for a couple of reasons. One you can give line to them if they need it. As some like to nibble on your yabbie and worms.
Secondly the one to one and hand to fish combat makes it so much more fun. But I use a 7-8ft rod with 8lb mono to 6lb flourocarbon leader. Soft tip rods are best for whiting. As whiting have soft mouths and go hard. So they can pull hooks. Soft tips and good drag helps keeps the hooks in but still allows the fish to run. But you can use just a standard spin 6-7ft spin set up with 6-8lb if that’s what you are familar with.
Rigs for baits
Pea sinker to swivel to 20-50cm trace with a long shank hook. Sinker depends on where your fishing but you will only need a tiny sinker. Hook depends on baits. But a 2/0-4/0 long shank is best. Too small a hook you will gut hook them. To big and you will miss the fish. Bait keeper hooks will help you keep your baits on better.
Artificial set up
A 1-5kg rod with a 1000-2500 reel spoiled with 4lb – 8lb braid and 6-10lb leader. Is best for most artificial techniques.
Weather your fishing baits or lures drifting across the sand banks let’s you cover more ground and find the schools.
If your anchored and your not getting any bites. Try winding in very slowly till you get a bite. Whiting love movement. So a moving bait will often get eaten.
Fish preservation and cleaning
Like all my fish. I like to bleed and brain spike the fish as soon as possible. Brain spiking puts the fish at rest before it can build up stress in its flesh. Bleeding your fish get all the blood they have built up in the fight out of the flesh. Once spiked and bleed straight into an ice slurry on out on ice or fridge. Whiting have some of the best fillets you can get. Once gilled and gutted or filleted. Place straight back in fridge or ice. The tight grain fillet cook well and are very flavoursome. Most people rate them a 4-5 star.
Whiting fillets are great shallow fried, deep fried, steamed, grilled, bbq’d, in a salad, stir fry, on a sandwich, in curry or garlic style, pasta like ravioli, fish cakes, fish pasta bake and baked whole. It’s a very versatile fish. What ever you can think of it will probably go well with.
* remember to only take what you need. As it’s not always necessary to keep your bag limit or more fish then you can eat that night. We hope this article helps you with your gold coast whiting fishing adventures.