Hi, Steve here, Pro Angler at Tackle World Kawana. Chasing Whiting on surface lures has become a very popular way to target these fish. I caught my first ever Whiting on a popper back October 2008 and have been chasing them this way ever since. Why you ask! well when you try this style of fishing you will see for yourself. The excitement and thrill of seeing any fish chase and smack a surface lure will show you the real definition of fun.
Gear to use: Before we get into the lures I will give a run down on the gear I use to do this. It’s nothing special in fact you may already have gear like it and it also can be used to target Bream, Flathead, Bass and Saratoga to name a few. I use a 2500 size reel spooled with 4lb braid on a 2-4kg 7ft graphite rod. The leader I use is a fluorocarbon in 4, 6 and 8 lb depending on lure selection and action of lure. Leader length will vary depending water surface conditions and the action I want from the lure.
Lures: There are two styles of surface lures to use, one being a popper as mentioned and the other is a walk the dog style of stick bait or pencil lure. Colour is also a very important factor when selecting lures to chase Whiting. I have found the more translucent colours to be far more effective than solid colours. So what one do I use? Firstly, water condition for me plays a big part. If it’s a glassed out day I find that the walk the dog action lure to be very effective. When there is a bit of wind chop on the surface I’ve found the popper to be a much more effective lure to use. Now why do I find a popper more productive in this situation? The walk the dog style of lure tends to glide along the surface and tends to get lost with very little disturbance on the water surface in those conditions, while the popper does create more commotion to grab the attention of the fish.
Lure and Hook Size: A question I get asked is, why I use and prefer a larger lure like say a 55mm popper to say a 30mm one. I have caught Whiting using an 80mm Zippen Ziggy so don’t be afraid to up your lures size. Over the years I have tried both and have found that with a larger profile lure, my catch size is consistently larger with around 90% of my catch being over 30cm. I may not catch as many on some days but the quality makes up for quantity and at the end of day it’s all about catching fish and having fun, not how many you caught. Another thing I have found is that 99.9% of the time the hook size on the lure will be fine. I originally did down size my hook size but found that my hook up rate wasn’t as good, so I now just leave them as they are. The only change I will do at times will put a trailing stinger hook setup from the rear for those short bite hook ups.
Leader Size and Length: If I want a more side to side action out of any of the lures I run, I’ve found a combination of lighter leader and shorter in length will give me more side to side action. If I want my lure to track a lot straighter especially a popper, a longer heavier leader will aid in doing this.
Location: The best place to target Whiting is a deeper channel or hole positioned between two sandbanks. Water depths of around 1.5m will produce the best results. Look for areas in where the bottom is changing in depth, causing a rolling bottom effect. This is where the sand on the bottom rises up and drops again in close proximity. This creates an area in where the Whiting like to sit and feed, best tip is to cast and work your lure parallel with these channels. Google maps satellite images are an easy way to identify these areas of deeper channels and holes on the sandbanks. Fishing the run in tide on the sandbanks will produce the best results. As the tide rises, the fish will follow up on to the banks to clean up any scraps left by birds or crabs when the tide was out.
There are my tips in catching Whiting on the Surface. Go out there and catch a few. For any more information, give us a call or drop in to our local store, any members from our friendly team will be more than happy to give you a hand.