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Summer Whiting Basics

By Andrew Schrodter

Hey team, for as long as I can remember the humble summer whiting, also known as the sand or yellowfin whiting, has been a favourite species for people to chase. It wasn't until just recently that my interest started to spark again in terms of chasing these awesome little sport fish.

Past

Growing up based close to the water on the Sunshine Coast, myself and my father were always out fishing. One of our favourite targets was summer whiting, especially up in the Noosa River, predominantly fishing with saltwater yabbies. I remember not wanting to grab them when I was small because of what looked like a large crushing claw. Maybe also because my father would tell me they'll take your finger off... cool story Dad!

I guess these fish really paved the way into other species and a healthy fishing addiction. They provided a good base to start from and to work on building a strong knowledge and skills base for fishing. One thing that stays the same is that what worked 30 years ago, still applies now, with this great species that is accessible to everyone.

Present

It's been a few years since chasing the summeries for me. Myself and my son Emmett spent a bit of time on them a couple of years ago but never really put in the hours for maximum reward. Recently I decided to chase them again as Emmett was getting bored with throwing plastics and hardbodies for jacks, due to the difficulty level and sometimes long periods between bites. So, we decided to hit our local waters in search of a few whiting.

On a recent trip, joined by Emmett and my father, we all had a great time. Emmett was on the pump, collecting bait and my old boy was throwing plastics from the sandbank and doing quite well on the flathead, while I was left to rig the rods. I really enjoyed this pace of fishing as I normally fish solo, chasing jacks and barra, so this was a good change. Hence the whiting spark firing again.

Bait wise bloodworms are ideal for summer whiting however yabbies are right up there also. I remember telling Emmett that a 40cm whiting is a unicorn, like a metre barra. His ears pricked up, as he can be competitive and that set the tone for the day. The biggest fish that gets caught between him and his grandfather would earn the winning angler an ice cream.

Now, I don't have a rod for every occasion, however I do own a couple of Okuma LRF GEN2 spin rods and if you’re unaware of these rods, you should jump on the Tackle Tactics website and check them out. For me, they are the closest all-round bait and lure rod available and a great price. They are very forgiving, with a bright green tip section that is very sensitive, yet powerful enough to target larger species also. I have fished them from whiting to mackerel and snapper, without any hesitations. At first glance they look more of a bait rod, but I’ve used them with plastics for years. They are also at a price point that, if you have kids and they are rough, they'll last the test of time.

I recently picked up some Okuma Epixor XT spin reels in the 2000 size, to match my light plastics setups, so I took them off these rods and put them on the LRFs. This was a perfect match, with the 2000 size reel loaded with 6lb braid and paired with the 2-4kg LRF GEN2. PERFECT! I highly recommend the Epixor XT in all sizes as they are just a great reel and worth checking out.

In the past I have only run nylon monofilament line when chasing whiting but have found Platypus Bionic X9 Braid to be very good. When rigging, I run a very small ball sinker on the braid, down to a swivel and then a two-foot (60cm) length of 8lb Stealth FC Fluorocarbon Leader, finished with a small longshank hook. Just before the hook I have one inch (2.5cm) of red tubing threaded onto the line. That’s as complicated as it gets.

Prime target areas for me are sand bar points, undulations, and areas where the whiting can hold out of the current and pounce on their prey. All these areas are quite shallow, ranging from 50cm to 2m of water, with the shallower water generally producing my fish.

With the technology available these days I don't even use an anchor. I generally motor up to where I want to start and use my bow mount electric motor to spot lock in the area. I have found that I only stay in one spot for up to thirty minutes and then, if there is no love, just unlock and drift down 100m before activating the spot locking feature again. This technique allows me to cover an area more effectively.

When casting, I've found it best to make a reasonable cast and then wind back a bit of line to ensure that your sinker and hook aren't sitting in a pile. With a two-foot (60cm) leader and a light sinker, the bait presents as naturally as possible.

Setting the hook. Hmmm, I just let them do the work. If they are a decent enough fish, they will make very quick work of a yabby or worm presentation. The only advice I would give is not to run a locked drag. Keep it tight enough to set the hook, yet loose enough not to pull your rod out of the holder. I learnt this many years ago when a stingray took a yabbie, with my rod and reel quickly following it down the river. This also goes in hand with having a rod that's forgiving, with a bit of bend in the tip. You always see the old guys using quite long and flexible rods, which gives the fish some play in the setup, to ensure they hook up well. The LRF range is also great for this.

On this trip we all did well, with Emmett going really well and landing fish in the mid-30s range. I nailed, as far as I can remember, my first 40cm whiting! In fishing terms 40cm doesn't sound big but man when I saw this fish, I was like a kid again. It looked huge! We had a good feed already, so this big fish earnt its freedom. I’m not sure that my old boy was keen on that idea, however we both agreed that it was worth letting go as the icebox had a decent feed in it already.

In case you were wondering... Emmett got his ice cream.

Future

The future for me comes from my son Emmett learning the ropes, so that he in turn can take his kids out one day. The fundamentals play a key role in everything and that's no different with fishing. My recent trip with three generations of my family was awesome and we each got to spend time with people that we look up to or are guiding in life.

So, the spark is back again, and I think I’ll be spending a bit of time chasing our summer whiting. Why not... it’s relaxing, I get to chill out and at the end of the day, I have a small seafood feast. Sounds good to me

Until next time...

Andrew

Gearing Up:

Okuma LRF GEN2 Spin Rods - LRF2-S-702L 7' 2-4kg
Okuma LRF GEN2 Spin Rods - LRF2-S-702M 7' 3-6kg
Okuma Epixor XT Spin Reels - EPXT-20
Platypus Bionic Braid X9 - 6lb
Platypus Stealth FC Fluorocarbon Leader - 8lb

Running Sinker Rig - small ball sinker, small swivel, red tube and longshank hook.

Bait - Bloodworms or Saltwater Yabbies / Nippers