Known by many as the best table fish in Southern waters, it comes as no surprise that King George Whiting is a highly sought-after species. These little beauties are a viable target all year round and if you’re at the right place at the right time can provide non-stop fishing action. Yet KGW is a very finicky species that requires some know-how to catch. Luckily for you the BCFing experts know a ‘ting or two about catching whiting and have put together this guide to help you bring home a bag of fish next time you get out there!
In order to detect the subtle bites of ‘King George’ you will need ultra-light gear, particularly a rod with a sensitive tip. A 1 – 3 kg graphite or fibreglass rod is ideal, yet a 2 – 4kg rod with a soft tip will also get the job done. Pair this up with a 1000 or 2500 sized spinning reel and you’ll be good to go. You can spool this up with 6 – 10lb mono line, yet braided line with the same breaking strain will give you superior bite detection and is recommended by the experts. Just make sure you tie some light fluorocarbon leader between your mainline and hook when fishing with braided line.
You can use a running sinker rig to catch whiting, but by far the most popular rig to use is the paternoster. This consists of a sinker on the bottom of the line and a hook (or two) higher up the line hanging from dropper loops. KGW are a bottom-dwelling species and it’s best-practice to use the lightest possible sinker that will get you to the bottom. Whiting have tiny mouths, so it’s important to use tiny hooks to match. The two best hook styles are long shank or circle hooks in sizes 6 - 10. When fishing with long shank hooks, keep the rod in your hand as you will need to strike in order to hook the fish. With circle hooks on the other hand, leave your rod in the holder and let the magic happen. No matter which hooks you use, it’s always good to slide on a lumo bead or a little bit of lumo tube above the hook for that extra little bit of attractant. BCF also stock a number of pre-made whiting rigs that can save you the headache of tying your own!
With King George Whiting, fresh is always best! Squid strips, mussels and pippies are three baits that you should have with you every time you go whiting fishing. Some days the whiting will zone in on one particular bait and ignore everything else you put in front of them… did we mention that they’re a finicky species? When the whiting are on it is often a hot bite that doesn’t last for very long, so it pays to be prepared. Before you head out it’s always good to have your bait pre-cut, as when the whiting are on the chew, you don’t want to be wasting time chopping up baits.
Try presenting the whiting a ‘cocktail’ of different baits by baiting up some squid and pipi (or mussel) together.
Although not an essential ingredient to whiting success, burleying can be super effective when the fishing is slow. A few handfuls of burley pellets and some crushed up mussels or pippies is all you need to rouse the fish. Be wary of burleying too much however, as this can attract scavengers that will pinch your bait before it gets to the whiting at the bottom.
Where do I find the fish?
King George Whiting can be found in many of the same areas that you find calamari, with a mix of sand and weed being the prime habitat for both of these species. You will find whiting most commonly in depths from as little as 3 metres up to about 10 metres. In Victoria, the Southern parts of Port Phillip Bay holds many spots that are great for whiting. Altona, Clifton Springs, St Leonards, Port Arlington, and Queenscliff are all great spots on the Eastern side of the bay, whilst Sorrento, Blairgowrie and Rye are some hot spots on the other side of the bay. Western Port is another great spot to find a ‘ting or two!
When you’re on the water, it is important to keep moving around if the fish aren’t biting. A distance as small as 50 metres can make the difference between catching a bag of whiting and catching none at all. If you don’t catch any whiting within 20 – 30 minutes of being at a spot, pick up the anchor and move until you hit a patch of whiting that are on the chew! Alternatively, cast your line to a different spot. KGW will often congregate in a very small area, so if you find the fish in one spot try to put your bait as close as possible to where the last one was caught.
Cast out a squid jig while you’re fishing for whiting to catch some super fresh bait or a delicious feed of calamari.
King George Whiting are without a doubt one of the most popular targets for Victorian anglers, and it’s easy to see why. In addition to their fantastic eating quality, KGW are a great challenge to catch and put up a brilliant fight on light gear. Whiting fishing offers non-stop fun for anglers of all shapes and sizes and is an option for those in the Southern states all year round! So, what are you waiting for? Get geared up for King George Whiting with BCF today!