King George Whiting

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King George Whiting


Locating King George Whiting

When schools of whiting move into the shallow areas to feed, they can be relatively easy to pinpoint. Visual location is often likely when the water is clear, as the fish travel over sand patches and between weed beds and even low reef.

When fishing deeper water, a sounder will prove helpful, not only to locate the fish, but to also show up bottom formations.

If fishing in a know whiting area, such as around a natural reef, it might be a good idea to drop an anchor and burley up heavily, in the hope of tempting a school within range of your bait. Local influences, such as tides, weather and seasonal variations may influence just how long you are willing to wait for King George to turn up in a recognised spot, but persistence is often crucial with this species.

Out in deep water a sounder is a must for the whiting expert, as locating an outcrop of reef or a weed bed may mean the difference between a bag limit haul and an unproductive outing. Bottom structures play an even more substantial fish holding role on the offshore grounds, as whiting depend on these for shelter from the unavoidable strong tidal run as well as for dietary supplies. Regardless of their moderately small proportions, whiting frequently school densely enough to come up very well on modern sounders, and occasionally show as tightly packed verticals stacks. Like most school fish they usually feed directly into the tide flow, sifting their way along the seabed as they travel.

The Top Baits

Although the diet of the king George is quite diverse, they can show a preference for definite baits in certain areas. In SA, the cockle is indisputably the number one offering. This meaty treat is common among the state’s surf beaches, and has become so popular with whiting anglers that it is collected commercially and dispersed through tackle supply shops. In Victoria’s Port Phillip and Westernport Bays, mussels are held in high regard as whiting bait, so it is fair to say that marine shellfish are at the top of the list wherever King George Whiting are located.

Blood worms, tube worms, squirt worms and beach worms will also latch their share of this species, particularly when used on the shallow grounds where they occur naturally.

When stomach contents of whiting are often inspected, it will soon become apparent that small squid, cuttlefish and octopus are also often on the menu. As a result, all of these can make supreme baits at times and all hold the bonus quality of being very robust on the hook.  

Many professional whiting anglers insist by squid flesh on the hook, but often tenderise it to counterbalance its rubbery texture. Bait that is quite often ignored by the whiting angler, but one which can be surprisingly effective is the humble pilchard. Sometimes the pilchard will appeal to the whiting when more noted baits are often snubbed. Many anglers have discovered this phenomenon while fishing specifically for snapper and subsequently carry a block of frozen pillies when next they venture to the local whiting grounds.



KGW Love a Good Burley Trail

The King George is an absolute sucker for a thoughtfully established burley method. Just what type of burley is to be used and how it is to be disseminated, may vary according to local conditions, but it is generally wise to burley with the same or similar material as you are using for bait. For example, if you are baiting up with pipis or mussels, a burley consisting of crushed shells and maybe a few opened shellfish would make a suitable mixture. If using squid for bait, diced scraps of cuttlefish, octopus or squid would be effective burley.  I also top my burley up with some good pallets from my local tackle store.

Simply casting burley around the boat intermittently by hand is often enough to get the fish biting, but there are now a few more sophisticated burley option to the whiting specialist. Metal burley bombs consisting of heavy cylinder drilled out with holes of appropriate size are very popular, and these are crammed full of desired burley and lowered to the seabed on a rope.  Bombs are particularly effective in deep water locations as they enable burley to be maintained in a controlled area.

The Right Rig and Tackle

As the majority of our whiting are caught in shallow water and average out at less than 500 grams a piece, tackle should be relatively light and need not be elaborate.  A two meter medium action rod, small to mid-range sized threadline reel and 4kg line makes an ideal combination for the species which is well within the means of the average angler.

The style of hook selected once again varies a bit from place to place, but the suicide or longshank are universally popular.  Hook size is naturally governed by the quality of whiting you expect to encounter, and varies from No #6 for small specimens on up to 1/0 for the deep water giants of a 1kg and better.

Trace line to which the hooks are tied is generally slightly heavier than the main line used. A measure which often can minimise tangles in your terminal tackle.

The actual rig employed is usually dictated by such variables as bottom formation, tide strength and more often than not personal choice. Some anglers operating in shallow water, where the fish may occasionally be touchy, prefer a simple running rig incorporating a light bean or ball sinker sling between two hooks.  Those fishing the deeper grounds normally better suited to specific locations and experimentation can be the keys to discovery in this regard. Modern techniques have seen the flasher rigs come into play when catching whiting. Often anglers will bag out using the paternoster style rig, due to the iridescent flasher material and its ability to attract the curious fish. Hook in Mouth Tackle has come out with an all new rig, that uses an ultra violet material, which can be charged up under light and glows 10 times more than your standard flasher material.

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