Despite a year-round thing, fishing has its peak seasons that comprise of a couple of months in both the winter and the summer season. There are plenty of fishes in these times but the fish type is different because of the living patterns and weather conditions. Anglers and catchers have always keen eyes on the horizon and track the changes in the season with the behavior and living pattern of the fishes.
In the northern hemisphere, the winter season is notoriously cruel with its freezing temperatures and frozen lakes that make a big question mark on the availability of catch in certain areas. Still, there are many delicious fish breeds that can only be caught and enjoyed in the fall. In this article, we will discuss how to catch a summer delicacy that has kept the anglers at their toes – sand whiting.
There is a cousin of this fish, called yellowfin whiting, that is also seen with this fish in the summer season. Both usually make a common target for fishermen and share common physical traits and tastes.
If you need to know the spread about these, yellowfin is normally found in the areas that comprise SA, southern WA, Dampier, South Albany WA, along with the coast of Eyre Peninsula to Fleurieu in SA. It would be interesting to know that the strains that are found in the south and western parts of the Americas are a different breed from these common fishes.
On the other hand, sand whiting covers a big part of the east coast, sporadically from York to Tasmania. As far as the spread of habitat is concerned, it dominates the yellowfin, even in terms of the surf. Other than that, there are too many similarities between these fishes.
For the anglers, it is always a joy to become a part of the habitat to catch the fish right from its territory other than sitting outside the water with a fishline or a rig and waiting for the apparatus to do its magic. So, you can land a cooler-full of this delicious table fish if you are up for the challenge of standing up to your ribs in the water. In the pleasant summer season, there is hardly anything that can top the feeling of casting baits and luring schools of fishes into your rig!
Where To Look For The Catch
The tides play a decisive role in the availability of all the shallow water fishes. It is because they are usually small and do not battle with the tidal currents and follow the expression “go with the flow”. For the prospectors, it is always safe to study the recent tidal currents and set their rigs accordingly.
Sand whiting uses the tides and other small water currents to their advantage to work their food over shallow sand and mud banks. This makes the fish move through and find their food in any holes, drains, channels, and other depressions in the water bodies. For the catchers with empty coolers, these are the areas that must be scoured as they are the areas with the most probability of fish. A search in there can get your hands on many gold flanks without sweating much. Accordingly, anglers can trace the route of the fish with the tides by working around the backdrop points as well.
If you are using minor lures, you can use the small protected and semi-protected areas along the beaches. Or you can go full-blown with a big rig and scout the locations around the coasts with estuary waters. Get a dingy or any other small boat to follow the tide or you can get to these hotspots by flicking or wading.
There are conditions where both shore anglers and boat riders have their advantages. Whiting is notorious to push hard against the shorelines at times of small tidal currents. This increases the probability of landing on a big bunch with ease. On the contrary, the boat riders can hook as much as they want if they position their rigs strategically and cover the areas that have fish edges and wholes.
There is no difference between baiting or luring the fish as far as the whiting are concerned. It is because both approaches share similar characteristics, which is using the areas where the fish will assemble on a feeding ground. On the other side, you can cast blindly and hope to prospect but this could be a long haul!
Yellowfin and sand whiting maybe some of the most delicious fishes you can have for supper but they are quite vicious when it comes to attacking the hostiles. They more than often hunt in packs and swarm a surface or subsurface that shows fake representations. There are topwater lurers, such as 3-7 cm poppers (the likings of Brenious Risepop) as well as stick baits. Both offer an effective and ultimate whiting lure experience, covering both frenzied attacks from the fish and strikes that are visible from a distance.
Pro Tip: Since topwater whiting is rather a moody fish, you can improve your odds of catching a bunch by varying your retrieval steps. Most of the time, a typical nagging pace pop or slash of the lure will help you in getting the job done. Still, you can try pauses and speeding the luring sparingly to catch as much as you want.
Opting for changing the trebles for intricate fine wire versions that go with surface lures can help you land the prize of the bunch. If you are looking to enhance your hook-up rate, you can replace the lure with assist hooks. Interestingly, there are situations where a combination of vibes, blades, and a collection of bream style lures will help you catch both the yellowfin and sand whiting.
You can praise the lures and count all the advantages they give you in catching the whiting, but you cannot deny the importance of an old-fashioned bait as a technique for swift results!
For these two cousins, you should be extra careful about the bait choice because they are more finicky about it than King George whiting. Live baits are one of the most preferred for the whiting because of their aggressive nature in the face of danger.
Live bait would consist of marine worms, such as seaweed worms that are caught from the decomposing mounds of weed all the way to beach worms that are thinly spread. You can save yourself a lot of time and effort by catching live bait in the whiting season. It is because many fishing stores provide live bait around peak months.
If you can afford to have a choice for bait, you can go for saltwater yabbies, which are commonly known as nippers or bass yabbies. No doubt, they are hard to catch and you can make a mess out of yourself going after them, but they are worth the effort. Yabbies are fragile so are easily hooked and unhooked from the metal, but they are happened to get smashed in the process. The relief in this is that they can do the trick even if they are dead! Of course, there is no consistency about the results in these baits to catch the whiting. Apart from them, you can also try your luck with small segments of prawn, pipi, preserved worms, etc.
Rigs To Catch Sand Whiting
Now that we are past the subjects of luring and baiting, it is time to go into the details about the rig settings that can serve the best for catching both yellowfin and sand whiting.
Many professionals use running rigs and light leaders to catch this summer fish for a clear reason. For this, you will be dipping baits in some feet of clear water occasionally. This way, the fish can have a good look at what it is served which drastically increases the probability of hooking a big catch.
For the warm-up and running the circuit, you will need a strong gauge and a sharp size 6 hook. Rig the apparatus on a length of Ocea Fluorocarbon around 2 to 4 kg and attach a ball sinker for weight calculation and you are good to go for a session of catching sand whiting!
Pro Tip: If you are having a hard time with fishing baits, you can try and change the place whenever you can. There are chances of fish getting the look but not coming for the meal on the hook because it could get stuck and would not look aggressive and hostile enough for the fish to attack.
The best place to fish the sand whiting is the flat waters where water is constantly filled and voided by the grooves in the coastal lines. These spots are laden with invertebrates and other insects that sand whiting and small fish feed on. The sight draw is the best suited in flats but you could need a pair of polaroid sunglasses.
The trick lies in targeting the school and zero in until you get the time and place to cast the bait. When you throw the rig in, the fish will swarm it and overwhelm it. There are instances of heavy specimens getting caught in the light rigs, sometimes even under 2lbs!
It could be quite a challenge to secure such a heavy catch on a light rod.
There is a whole other strategy to land sand whiting when you are using anchored boats. Keep in mind that the whiting is a small fish that put in a good fight. Since they don’t have teeth, you can use even the lightest tackle and rod to chase them most of the time. This will help you in getting more bites from the fish and you will certainly appreciate the way it struggles while even being a scrappy fish.
Flats are all good and sound to fish from an anchored boat. But when you are targeting sand whiting in deeper waters, you need a new set of tactics to get your cooler filled at the end of the day. Here are some of the factors that can help you in locating and catching the sand whiting in the deep:
Due to its small size, the school depends on the tides and water currents for direction. Still, they start feeding while in the current but sticking to the bottom of the water to protect themselves from the enemy.
This means that there are chances that the fish would bite the bait and then swim towards you. This way, it will not be easy to detect the bite. For starters, there could be a bump in the line or it would go slack and nothing more. You can improve your odds as you gain more experience.
The general rule of thumb for detecting a bite is to observe the line and strike at even the slightest fall in tension. There are fishes like bream that rattles the bait, thus making it easy for the fishermen to strike at the right moment. Whiting is a subtle creature when it comes to biting.
Sand whiting and its cousin yellowfin are both good fighters and put on a good brawl whenever they are pitted against their foes, including the anglers. If you are on your 2 to 3 kg flick stick outfit, then there are chances that you will be smoked out of the water by these swimmers.
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