Species Guide


The Australian whiting family is made up of 13 species including King George whiting, sand whiting, yellowfin whiting, trumpeter whiting, various school whiting and others. The largest and most popular is the King George whiting, followed by sand whiting.


They’re a very popular marine species, offering a great fishing experience for beginners and avid fishers alike. King George whiting are typically targeted by recreational fishers for their sporting capabilities and quality eating (vitamin B, magnesium, protein and omegas). King George whiting are endemic to southern parts of Australia.

King George whiting have a long slender body with a relatively small head and mouth. They are silvery-bronze and tan in colour, with distinct brown spots along their flanks.

They’re most commonly caught around 35cm long, but they can grow up to 72cm in length, and weigh up to 5kg.

King George whiting are a schooling fish, which hug the bottom and feed on worms and small prey in the sand. They can be found inshore, and inside estuary systems with tidal influence, sand flats and weed beds.

Each state has different size and bag limits for King George whiting.

VICTORIA - Minimum legal size is 27cm and bag limit is 20 per person

SOUTH AUSTRALIA - Minimum legal size is between 30-32cm (depending on where you’re fishing) and bag limit is 10 per person

TASMANIA – Minimum legal size is 35cm and bag limit is 5 per person

NSW – There is no minimum legal size for King George whiting in NSW, but there is a bag limit of 20 which covers all whiting species

WA – Minimum legal size is 28cm and the daily bag limit is 12 per person, with a mixed species bag limit of 16 for all near shore/estuarine finfish


Along the eastern coast of Australia, from Queensland, down through NSW and around Tasmania, sand whiting is more common than King George whiting.

Sand whiting, also known as silver whiting, can reach up to 47cm in length and weigh around 1kg. They're silvery white in colour, with plain yellowish sides. They have dark blotches at the base of the pectoral fins. Their bodies are long and slender, as is their snout, which they use to forage for food in the sand and mud. Sand whiting are known to bury themselves in soft sand and mud if they get frightened.

Sand whiting inhabit the inshore waters of eastern Australia including coastal beaches, sand bars, bays, coastal lakes, estuaries and rivers as far as the tidal limits. They move into deeper water as they grow and form large spawning schools seasonally.

Their diet consists of marine invertebrates, including crustaceans (yabbies, prawns and soldier crabs), beach worms and pipis.

Each state has different size and bag limits for sand whiting.

QUEENSLAND - Minimum legal size is 23cm and bag limit is 30 for mixed whiting species

TASMANIA – There is no minimum legal size for sand whiting is Tasmania, but there is a bag limit of 15 for all whiting species combined, excluding King George whiting

NSW – Minimum legal size is 27cm and bag limit is 20 which covers all whiting species

WA – There is no minimum legal size for sand whiting in WA, but there is a bag limit of 30 per person, which covers all whiting species



Can be found along the southern coast of Australia, from Geraldton in WA, around to Western Port in Victoria. They’re also known as silver whiting (just like sand whiting) and can be hard to differentiate from some other whiting species. Southern school whiting usually grow to around 36cm in length.


Are found in similar areas to stout whiting, along the west, east and northern coasts of Australia. They have a preference for silty bottoms or the deep gutter of bays or estuaries. They’re more commonly caught during the cooler months, especially on the east coast and can reach up to 30cm in length.


Also known as rock whiting or blue rock whiting, they’re found along the southern coast of Australia, from Fremantle in WA around to Sydney in NSW, including Tasmania. While grass whiting is classed as a whiting species, and have similar body shapes, they are more closely related to the wrasses or parrotfish as they possess fused teeth. They are common in seagrass habitats but can also be found on nearby sand patches or near shallow reefs. Grass whiting can grow up to 41cm in length.


Are found in a smaller area than most whiting species, from Shark Bay in WA to the Gulf of St Vincent in South Australia, but they’re most common in WA. They can be found foraging in estuaries and surf areas, and while they’re usually caught around 33-35cm in length, they can grow up to 42cm long.


Can be found along the west, east and northern coasts of Australia, from Fremantle in WA around to central NSW. However, they're less common in the Northern Territory. They're pale yellow on top and white on the bottom with a bright silver band along the length of each fish. They’re most commonly encountered on offshore sand banks in deeper water, except in Shark and Moreton Bays where they move into shallower water during winter when they mix with trumpeter whiting. Stout whiting can grow up to 30cm in length.


All species of whiting can be caught during the day and at night, and all year round.

However, they’re more active in late spring, through summer and into autumn, when the water temp rises.

They’re best targeted at the light change (dawn and dusk), meaning the first few hours in the morning as the sun is rising, and the last hours before sunset, and at the peak of the tide changes.


Whiting typically resides in shallow saltwater environments, between 2-6 meters deep (up to 12 meters for King George whiting). They love ecosystems with a mix of clean water, heavy weed and sandy patches. Look for structure, like holes, hollows, drop offs and subtle undulations of the sea bed, along the edges of weed beds, sand and mud banks when hunting for whiting.

This is where they find their food. They’ll be looking for worms, yabbies, pipis and other invertebrates uncovered by wave and current action.

When fishing off the boat, drop your bait down at the back with the aim of finding those spots that have reef and sand holes. You’re aiming for the edge of the reef in the sand, and once you hit the bottom, give it a wind or two back up. You can follow the same technique when fishing off piers and jetties.

You’ll know you have a whiting hooked when you detect subtle, rapid bites – it’ll feel a bit like a “ting, ting, ting”. Whiting are good at quickly striping a bait without getting hooked, so holding the rod will keep you more in tune with what’s going on under the water.

You can also fish for whiting off the beach. The same rules around time of day and around the tides, apply here. You’ll be looking for channels or gutters that form between sandbars as they create natural feeding grounds for whiting. Tide and current can also influence where the fish are congregating, so keep an eye on the movement and patterns. When a whiting shows interest in your bait, back slowly up the beach without striking.


Here are some well known fishing spots in each Australian state:

Port Phillip Bay, Western Port, eastern Victoria around Inverlock and Lakes Entrance, and western Victoria around Portland, Anglesea and Apollo Bay.

Carpenter Bay, Corny Point, Spencer Gulf, Moonta Bay, Whyalla and Port Vincent

Rottnest Island, South Beach and North Mole in Fremantle, Warnbro Sound, Augusta, Cockburn Sound, Kimberley and Bremer Bay

Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour and Narrabeen

Noosa, Munna Point, Jacobs Well, Gold Coast and Hervey Bay

North and north-east waters, including Bridport and Flinders Island


The whiting fishery in Australia is currently strong and abundant, and at a sustainable level if anglers keep doing the right thing. Remember you don’t have to catch the bag limit – just fish for what you need. It’s a great species to target, and they're delicious to eat, so it’s worth looking after them for generations to come.


Whiting can be fished on light to medium gear and your setup doesn’t need to be complicated. But using the right set up - from your rod through to your hook - can dramatically increase your success rate when targeting whiting.

Whiting have small mouths, so small hooks and small baits are recommended. Recurve hooks are ideal for whiting, as the fish will hook themselves when they try to swim off with your bait. Recurve hooks are also easy to remove, as they usually hook in the corner of the mouth.

You'll need a sturdy but flexible rod that will allow you to stay connected to your bait, and a spinning reel is usually recommended. Combine that with the right line, leader, hooks/rigs and bait, and you'll be onto a winner.


Our GLADIUS® Squid rod is actually the perfect whiting rod. It’s strong at the base, meaning it flexes in all the right spots, but gives you the confidence to have a good battle with some feisty whiting. We recommend combining our GLADIUS® rod with a 2500-4000 reel, which you can spool up with 6kg mono line or 12lb Hyperglide® 13xBraid. While mono can offer a slightly higher level of abrasion resistance, a thin, supple braid like Hyperglide® can offer better presentation of your baits.


If you’re tying your own rigs, we recommend using Fluorocarbon or Supple Fluorocarbon as your leader. Fluorocarbon offers you a high level of abrasion resistance, so it can handle anything the local whiting, or any bycatch, throw at you. And it can handle being caught in the weeds or any other structure, without snapping instantly.


Whiting have small mouths, so small baited hooks are recommended. Our small KL 1/0 hooks are a recurve hook, perfect for whiting. Simply add a small piece of bait. Attractants, like lumo beads and tubing, can work well when the whiting are feeding strongly, as they can draw attention to your bait.

Simple paternoster or running rig are ideal for whiting, as they will both keep you bait wafting in the current and near the bottom where the fish will be.

Running rigs, like our Whiting Whackers® are best if you’re fishing over clear, sandy ground, where there is nothing for your rig to get caught on. A running rig

If you’re fishing over weed patches, then a paternoster rig, like our Whiting Snatchers® and Sandy Snatchers®, is better suited as your hook and hook is kept above the weed beds that whiting like to hide amongst.


Whiting respond well to a range of baits, but fresh bait is always best. You can catch your own or buy fresh from your local tackle store.

Popular baits include squid, pipis, mussels, crab, prawns, beach worms and pilchard, but different species of whiting may have slightly different preferences.  

Squid is a commonly used bait as it stays on the hook well, and doesn't usually get ripped off after a few bites.

But try a few baits when you're out on the water and find what is working for the local whiting on the day.

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