No Work Whiting
  |  First Published: July 2010

You have to love winter in Central Queensland. Heading out to the reef is my favourite fishing pastime in the cold climate.

I love just bobbing about on the water with land just on the horizon (or not at all). I put the rods in the holders after fishing for a while and put my feet up resting over the side of the boat just waiting for the big reef fish to hook up.

The beauty of Gladstone this time of the year is that the reef species are yawing themselves awake and just looking for something to latch their teeth into.

On the Reef

Fish on the Gladstone shoals are becoming more active and striking strongly at the moment, and I reckon this will continue into July. Rock Cod, Bass Shoals as well as the bigger reef areas, like Masthead and Fitzroy, will give up good catches.

12 Mile is not my preferred spot as it can be hit and miss. I know there are plenty who bring in big fish from this location but none of my marks have given me any great catches.

Rock Cod is producing good tuskers from the deeper holes and good red throat from the shallower reef shelves.

In the Estuaries

Grahams Creek is still worth fishing, despite all of the action around the mouth brought about by the work on Curtis Island from the new gas plant. It will be interesting to see what the long term issues are, so get into Grahams Creek while you can.

The better bream, grunter and Moses perch are coming from the deeper holes further into the creek. Crabs are still featuring in reports so if you have a few pots, chuck them against the mangroves while you flick for that quality bream with your light gear.

South Trees produced some nice bream for the Hook Up live tank. A lot of these were caught from near the pipeline and the bridge near the Lillies.

On the beaches

I love fishing but not the hard work that goes with it. I must admit that I am a bit of a lazy blighter when I go out. My aim is to put the ‘recreational’ back into rec fishing: sitting in the boat bottom-bashing over a bommie is my ideal scenario. Standing on the edge of the water for hours rebaiting for whiting is not on my must-do list.

Don’t get me wrong, I love whiting and enjoy whiting fishing, I just like my creature comforts more.

Lillies Beach

When Macca and I set out for Lillies Beach to hunt whiting during the Boyne Tannum Hook-Up comp, I put my ‘lazy’ fishing plan into action. I packed a comfortable chair, three sand spears made from cut lengths of PVC pipe, my favourite whiting rods and Macca’s famous ‘catch yourself’ whiting rigs.

I strike to set the hook as soon as I feel the bait moving away. Too soon and you lose the fish, too late and you lose the bait so the rig is important for this ‘lazy’ plan to work.

The easiest whiting rig is a running sinker straight to the hook. It’s pretty effective because whiting are bottom feeders and this rig keeps the bait on the bottom. However, this rig is particularly good if you’re actively fishing but it is not so good for the lazy fisher. You can’t set this rig in a holder and doze off because the fish just pick and run with the bait until the tension on the rod generates the strike. Sometimes this is too late and the whiting and the bait is gone.

Another popular whiting rig is a running sinker above a swivel with about a 30cm trace. When you work this rig the bait stays in contact with the bottom, both the sinker and the bait create little puffs of sand just to grab the attention of nearby whiting. The trace will wave the bait around in the current causing all sorts of action. Whiting can move away with the bait but the rod will generate the tension. This is a good rig for active angling, but if you plan to doze off, it won’t work if you expect the whiting to catch themselves.

The third rig that Macca suggested is a dual swivel with running sinker between the two swivels and a 30cm or more trace. This rig makes perfect sense to me. If I was a whiting, I would be caught every time. The trace will still move the bait around with the current and whiting can still move away with it. The advantage with this rig is that the top swivel will trap the sinker and create a tension at the hook as soon as the whiting runs. Bang! When you wake from your nap, you will find a whiting on each of the three rods you have set up. Or maybe that’s just in the dream…

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