Whiting on in earnest
  |  First Published: June 2015

Well, it has finally arrived! Yes, it’s the time of year to get my whiting gear out and start fishing in earnest. The long weekend in June heralds the much-anticipated whiting run in the middle to upper reaches of the Georges River, with specimens up to 800g not uncommon.

The outfit I use is a Crystal Blue 7’ nibble tip rod armed with a size 3000 Baitrunner reel, 4kg monofilament with a 1.7kg fluorocarbon leader, assorted size 1, 2 and 3 ball sinkers, and a size 6 black crane swivel. This combo has worked for me over the years and boasts many outstanding catches.

While you’ll get fish during the day, night-time is definitely best, with around the full moon period the pick. I like to fish both tides and have found a low around 5.00-6.00pm the best, with a peak period around 11.00pm-12.00am ideal. Then it is time to give it away.

I like to position the boat in the middle of the channel in relatively deep water over cockle and mussel beds, and look at my sounder for a specific wave type of bottom, as that is where the whiting school during the last couple of hours of the outgoing tide. It’s not uncommon to catch 7-8 good fish in quick time before the tide changes.

Once the tide starts its inward run, I have found that moving onto the shallower weed corridors or edge of the sand banks the best. Big whiting tend to move around in schools of a dozen fish and bite at intervals, so do not panic if you don’t get a bite within 15 minutes or so.

Whiting can be very finicky biters, especially the larger fish, with only a slight tap registered on your rod tip to indicate any interest, and a quick strike of the rod will usually mean another good fish lost. You need patience and to allow the fish to take the bait. At times you have to allow 20m of line out before lifting your rod, but in most cases the fish will be well hooked and end up in the fish box.

Fishing this way means you will lose many hooks, so make sure you have ample supply. I have found the Mustad Aberdeen size 4 to be the ideal choice and excellent for most estuary species. You will need either the magic bloodworm or small live nippers for a top catch, otherwise stay home as you are wasting valuable time.

Areas to try include the cockle beds at Connells Point, the San Souci Sailing Club sandflats, Caravan Head Channel, the western side of Como Bridge, the entrance to the Woronora River, Cranbrook, The Moons and Fitzpatrick Park Picnic Point. All these possies are in close proximity of boat ramps and are easily accessible.

Weather conditions last month were ordinary to say the least, with only the most dedicated fishos trying their luck. Those that ventured out found schools of class bream around Watts Reef, along with trevally and tailor. Better catches were recorded at night on the incoming tide. Bigger bream were taken along the weed corridors between Bonna and Towra Point in shallow water. The best method was to berley with boiled wheat and pollard, and wait for the fish to come around.

The southern Cooks River breakwall was the scene of some excellent catches of trevally and tailor, particularly during the outgoing tide, whilst thumper whiting were taken land based just west of the Grand Parade Road Bridge.

Dusky flathead were boated in Yarra Bay between the sailing club and La Perouse, with specimens around 55cm not uncommon.

The ever-reliable Georges River never disappoints, with the pylons of Captain Cook Bridge providing stud bream and school mulloway on the high water mark, with local fresh squid the gun bait. Further upstream, small fish were troublesome, taking baits meant for larger predators and apparently driving fishos home early.

It was nice to see squid taken from the Rocky Pont shoreline at night as this is very unusual, but this is prime time for this particular species. During this month, we will find schools of bream feeding along Silver Beach only a few hundred metres from the renovated boat ramp, but beware, this ramp is suitable for small boats and best half tide up. Otherwise you’ll run aground, but it is in a very good location, being only about 600m west of the Kurnell Oil Wharf.

I would suggest the hot water outlet nearby as the hotspot for big tailor at night, with choppers to 2kg not uncommon. The trick is to anchor up on the eastern side of the boil and cast unweighted pillies or pencil garfish in the run. If there are any predators around, you will not have long to wait.

I’ve found the 3 nights leading up to the full moon and 2 nights after the same best, and the last 2 hours of the rising tide the prime time. If things are a little quiet, move closer to the second or third groynes nearer the wharf and fish for bream with nippers.

The artificial reefs fish particularly well this month, with big tailor, salmon, trevally, bream and school mulloway. My suggestion would be to berley up either yellowtail or slimy mackerel and use them as bait. I’ve listed below the co-ordinates for these reefs:

Latitude (S) Longitude (E)

33.58.939 151.12.952

33.58.859 151.13.112

33.58.940 151.13.447 **

33.59.448 151.13.742 ***

33.59.596 151.14.007 *

33.59.654 151.14.136

*** Best

** Very good

* Good

Like many other possies, they have their good and bad days, but for mine they will produce at night during the rising tide with plenty of berley on offer. Another possie that is well worth a try is The Tongue at the entrance to the Georges River (33.59.764 — 151.09.660). This shallow sand, weed and gravel stretch is the home of many fish species, with some surprises in the shape of snapper, kingfish, flounder and thumper whiting.

Use live, locally pumped nippers for the best results on either tide, but make sure you are right on the spot otherwise you’ll be pestered by stingrays and banjo sharks. It’s worth remembering if fishing the bay in June, that the first few hours of an incoming tide fish best along the southern shoreline from Sutherland Point at Kurnell to Towra Point, then between Brighton Le-Sands and the old runway for the last few hours of an incoming tide.

The third runway to Cape Banks is best on or during the falling, or ebb tide. Remember, westerly winds give a false sense of security on Botany Bay and a wet trip home. The bay itself is relatively shallow and can rough up very quickly.

Listed below are a number of GPS marks, which have worked well for me over many years, and I’m sure they will work well for you.

Latitude (S) Longitude (E)

Inscription Point34.00.050151.13.257
Watts Reef33.59.980151.12.969
Hot Water34.00.243151.12.566
Man Made Trenches33.59.877151.11.784
Silver Beach33.59.996151.11.460
The Patches34.00.081151.10.561
The Mountain33.59.589151.09.606
Novotel Wide33.57.563151.09.841
New Runway33.58.602151.11.672
J Hole33.58.902151.12.575
Bare Island33.59.769151.13.830
Cruwee Cove34.00.013151.14.732
Theo Psaras’ Spot33.59.194151.12.064
Middle Grounds33.59.009151.11.277
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