These fish go by a few different names, depending where you’re fishing for them. Winter, diver, or trumpeter whiting, whatever you want to call them, are appreciated as being both great fun to catch and a great source of seafood! While not a big fish, even by whiting standards, a handful of these tasty suckers is enough to provide a feed to a few hungry mouths, and the ease in gathering such a feed adds to the attraction of diver whiting.
Despite being relatively easy to catch, this doesn’t apply for the whole year. In their northern and southern limits (Cairns and Eastern Victoria) they will breed and therefore school in winter and spring/summer respectively. In south east Queensland and Northern NSW they are generally targeted from autumn through until spring, but can still be catchable throughout the year, although school sizes may vary.
Finding these fish can sometimes be a challenge, but they generally prefer deeper water in bays and the mouth of rivers. A bit of colour in the water (from silt and river outflow) can improve your chances. Areas in around 3-4m water are generally accepted as good areas to be looking. A sounder is invaluable when looking for a schooling fishing like whiting, however they can sometimes be found by checking in with local ‘marks’ and well-known areas.
Rigs are fairly simple, with a sliding sinker, swivel or paternoster rig working just fine. The addition of some STM Red Tubing & Beads will give it a bit of extra attraction for these curious critters. Keeping line light is the key for such a small species, with 6lb line and leader the benchmark, give or take a little. For hooks, you really can’t go past a good-quality long-shank model, and some examples are Gamakatsu Long Shank Hooks, Tru Turn Baitholder Long Shank and Mustad Bloodworm Hook Ex-Long Shank. Size 4-8 is a good size range, depending on the size of the fish you’re catching.
Baits of pipi, yabby, various worms and even pieces of Berkley Saltwater Gulp! Sandworm Soft Plastics are regular takers of diver whiting, and bait preference will vary depending on the area you’re fishing.
If you want to gather a quality feed in quick time, give the humble diver whiting a look! They may be small, but they taste great and the action can be non-stop!
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