Species Guide


This in-depth guide about whiting is written by Black Magic Pro Team member Michelle Brittain. Michelle is a highly experienced saltwater angler from Victoria, and a leader for Women in Recreational Fishing and Boating (WIRFAB) run by the Victorian Fishing Authority.

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.


King George whiting is 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, including lower parts of Western Australia, NSW, Victoria, and Tasmania.

In Victoria, we have a legal size of 27cm and a bag amount of 20 per person. In the other states, they have smaller bag limits and different rules. Therefore, anywhere you travel it’s best to look up the rules and regulations for that area and species and whether a license is required.

In NSW and along the eastern coast of Australia, sand whiting are more common than King George whiting. They can reach up to 47cm in length and weight around 1kg. They can be identified by the lack of a silver stripe long their side, and the blotch at the base of the pectoral fin.

Whiting are commonly caught around 35cm but can grow to a maximum length of 72cm and weigh up to 5kg. But the size and quality of your catch will vary depending on where you’re targeting them. Sexual maturity is 30-34cm at 3-4yrs of age. They tend to spawn in water depths of up to 9 meters or in estuaries, before being recruited by ocean currents where they live in the seagrass where they grow and the grass protects them, venturing out into the deep continental reef shelves when adults.

Whiting love choppy water as they can hide and see their prey, with their typical diet consisting of worms, a variety of crustaceans, molluscs, and fish.

Their predators are diving birds, salmon, snook, barracouta, sharks, rays, dolphins, squid, and juvenile kings.


Whiting can be fished throughout the day. I’ve found the most ideal time is to fish during the two hours following a high tide as the tide runs out. Or early morning or night-time post high tide.

In Victoria, May to September tends to be the best time of year to fish for whiting, particularly King George whiting. However I’ve caught them in every month so just be prepared to have some slower fishing days on them. They do like warmer temperatures so during the winter they will find the warmer pools.

Sand whiting are also available all year round, but July to December is the peak fishing period for this species.


The schools form in various sizes occasionally schooling with other species. Adults tend to be solitary and found in deeper water bays, offshore gutters, broken bottom, deep reef and come back to shallows on occasion.

I have had success catching them at depths from 4 – 18 meters, when fishing landbased from the beach, rocks or pier, and out in the boat.

King George whiting are found along the southern coast of NSW, around the bottom of Australia past Victoria and South Australia, up to Dongara in WA.

Sand whiting can be found along the eastern coast of Australia, from Cape York in Queensland, right down to the eastern side of Tasmania and Lakes Entrance in Victoria. They can be caught in very shallow water on a rising tide, while on a falling tide, you'll need to fish the deeper edges of gutters or drop offs. But you're more likely to have success in the shallows on the rising tide.


Whiting respond well to a range of baits and again it will be different from state to state and the type of area you fish.   Fresh bait is best if you can catch your own or try for good quality fresh bait from your local tackle shop or known sources.

I use fresh squid strips on their own if I feel like bait is attracting too many unwanted species. Also, the squid holds on tight in strong tides and in reef areas, and generally the bait is still good for a few hits.

Other popular baits are pipi, mussels, crab, prawns and pilchard.

I will only use a little bit of berley just to initially get some interest and to find them.

Lures and soft plastics have become quite popular and great if you don’t have access to bait or don’t like bait fishing and a fun challenge and learning new fishing techniques.

As far as rigs and techniques used, it is dependent on what you’re comfortable with, what you have available and the areas you are fishing. The best way to find out is to test yourself using different products, different styles and set up whether it is a paternoster or single running rig, circle hooks or long shank hooks.

I use pre-tied Whiting Snatchers® as I don’t have time to make up my own rigs and I don’t have to think about rigging while out fishing. They’re convenient and easy – you just attach the rig to your mainline, add your preferred sinker weight and bait, and away you go.

Not much required action with circle hooks either, it’s more of a slight lift rather than a strike or they can self-hook in a rod holder if too tricky with quick bites or fast flowing tide. I like to be able to release a lot of fish quickly and without harm, so I like using the circle hooks as they hook in the corner of the fish mouth for safe and easy hook removal.

If you prefer to strike the fish, then I’d recommend the Sandy Snatcher® rigs which have long shank hooks. They come equipped with a sinker however you can change sinker weight to suit your conditions.

When fishing off the boat, I recommend dropping 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.

Fishing off the beach is always a little different. When a Whiting shows interest in your bait, back slowly up the beach without striking.


I mainly fish off a boat and in close around moorings, marinas and sand flats with reef patches., as well as in Port Phillip Bay (down the southern end) and off the beaches. Our fisheries are strong and abundant and Whiting are at a sustainable level if we 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 and delicious so it’s worth looking after for generations to come.


Equipment is a personal choice to the angler. As with many styles of fishing, it’s good to have a few different setups to see what you feel is the most successful.


I have the GLADIUS® Squid/Whiting rod – it’s a 7’6” light-medium action rod with a lighter tip. It’s nice and strong at the base meaning it flexes in all the right spots. The bonus with this rod is it allows me to easily chop and change my tackle to target squid as well.



I have a 2500-4000 reel spooled up with 6kg monoline or 12lb Hyperglide® 13x Braid, attached to a Whiting Snatcher ® rig.

As Whiting can school with other species and the areas they inhabit, you will most likely have several different species be interested and hook up. That’s where a heavier setup is required or two setups and knowing when to pull anchor and try to find a bigger school of Whiting on their own. Light setups are good for a challenge and for sporting capabilities.

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