King George Whiting
A long slender-bodied fish with a relatively small head and mouth. Silvery bronze and tan in colour with distinct brown spots on the flanks. The body of the fish has a noticeable slime coating. An easy fish to handle without danger of spiking.
King George whiting (KGW) are found in the southern half of Australia from Jurien in Western Australia to Sydney in New South Wales, including Tasmania.
KGW grow to a maximum length of 72cm. The average weight of KGW caught in the northern section of Port Phillip Bay and Corio Bay would be between 200 g and 400 g. Larger fish are encountered in southern parts of Port Phillip Bay and can range from 500 g to 800 g. Along open coastal areas KGW can exceed 1 kg
Fishing techniques and tackle
Whiting respond well to light tackle. A soft longer rod with a matching reel and 2-4 kg line is recommended. Heavier line may need to be used if fishing in reefy areas. Terminal tackle consists of a light running sinker (enough only to hold bottom) above a 40 cm leader with a No. 2-6 size long-shank hook. Paternoster rigs with a much longer leader are preferred in areas with strong tidal currents, and longer rods and heavier tackle will be required when fishing coastal beaches, as much longer casts will be required. A period of two hours after the high tide would be an ideal time to fish as the tide runs out, particularly if this occurs early in the morning or in the evening.
The most common baits for whiting are pipis, mussels and small cut strips of squid. Squid pieces may need to be tenderized with the handle of a knife before placing on the hook. Other baits include sand worms and bass yabbies. Whitebait will be taken by larger whiting.
Land-based opportunities to catch whiting are available from many of the piers in Port Phillip and Corio Bay. A few worth trying would include Brighton, Mornington, Portsea, Portarlington, St Leonards and Queenscliff. Many more options are available if fishing from a boat. Along the coast whiting can be caught from beaches and the rocky coastline between Barwon Heads and Lorne.
Sustainable fishing techniques
- Hook damage is the most significant cause of fish dying after being released. Deep-hooked (gills, gut) fish are far less likely to survive.
- Fish with a tight line so that fish are less likely to swallow the hook.
- Increase the size of your hooks to prevent small fish swallowing them.
- Avoid suspending fish on the hook.
- Fish hooked in the mouth or lip have the best chance of survival.
- Remove the hook with long nosed pliers.
- If you can’t see the whole hook protruding from the mouth of the fish don’t try and remove it.
- Cut the line and release the fish.
- Wet your hands before handling the fish.
- Avoid touching the gills and eyes.
- Return the fish as quickly as possible.
Fishes of Australia