Photo: Spero Kartanos.
It’s November, and the weather does not always play nice this time of year. But when we can get out on the bay, the whiting are waiting for us, and not many fish taste better.
There’s no excuse when the weather is good not to go out and bring some nice Moreton Bay whiting fillets home for the family, and by all accounts, most families enjoy the sweet-tasting fillets. Whiting are great cooked tempura-style, grilled in a nice pasta linguini, or any way you like to cook these lovely fish. My favourite has to be a light Japanese tempura batter, served with shoestring chips, all cooked in light olive oil, but for the family to be happy, you must learn to fillet without leaving any bones behind!
Whiting are really easy to catch, and they tend to be in the same areas each year – in fact, I think there are more whiting these days than ever before. This time of year, you’ll catch them around the Sand Hills, Blue Hole, on the western side of Moreton Island, Fisherman’s Gutter and all the gutters throughout the Rous Channel. Also, check out Chain Banks and all the surrounding sand banks like Amity Banks, the legal side of Maroon Banks, the shallows in Horseshoe Bay and south to Pelican Banks.
In the summer months, I find the whiting are up in the shallow banks throughout the bay in 4 to 6-ft depth, and a sign I always look for is feeding dugongs. Nine times out of 10, the whiting follow the herds to eat whatever the dugongs dig up, eating the seagrass.
I find them on the bite better when there is a good run in the tide, drifting with the good old faithful paternoster rig. Anchored up, I do like the running sinker rig, especially in the fast-running currents and the rivers, but in the bay, a paternoster is the way to go.
Baits are simple, and the best by far is live blood worms, but frozen beach worms, strips of squid, peeled prawns, pipis and live yabbies should all catch you a bucket of whiting.
As for rods and reels (especially for the young), I recommend ultralight rods and 1000-size reels. Eight to 12-pound line is all you need, and like most older fishermen, hand line is still preferred to rod and reel.
I use a red long shank 1.0, which makes sense as I mostly use red blood worms or cured red beach worms, but I have to say I was put onto the black magic circle type 1.0 whiting hooks and can’t believe how good they are. The only trouble is that my little fat fingers sometimes find it hard to put the bait on, so I revert to a long red shank every now and then.
So get the rods and reels ready and wait for a nice calm day to go out and bring home a bucket of whiting that I’m pretty sure the whole family will enjoy,
For weekly updates, go to fishingmonthly.com.au for Moreton Bay reports, which will let you know where the fish are, and if you search features, there is an extended article on whiting fishing in the bay.
Till next time, good fishing!
BY SPERO KARTANOS