In the last 15 years, the popularity of fishing with topwater lures for yellowfin, sand or summer whiting in estuaries has grown and grown. Early on, small poppers were an effective tool for those chasing whiting on top, and lures like the Lucky Craft G Splash Popper will still work exceptionally well. As time went on, anglers discovered other deadly lures that were appealing to whiting, such as small stickbaits like the Bassday Sugapen 58mm and 70mm, which has become almost synonymous with topwater whiting.
While this is an extremely accessible pastime, available even to those without a boat, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s easy. Whiting are cunning and very in-tune with what’s going on over the flats, and it’s for this reason that you need to use light spin tackle capable of throwing small lures a long way. Atomic Arrowz spin rods are purpose-built for light tackle sportfish like bream, and the AAS-270BC or AA7-27DBS models, matched with an affordable but quality reel such as a Shimano Stradic FL 1000HG, will put you in good stead.
When looking for an area to start working the surface for whiting, it’s important that you find a wide flat, no deeper than about waist depth. Yabby holes, a bit of weed or rubble are icing on the cake, but not absolutely necessary for whiting.
Make sure you move around often, with each cast exploring new water as you go. Having the wind at your back so you can make long, wind-assisted casts will help you to cover more water.
Once you get some interest from whiting, resist the temptation to stop your retrieve. Whiting have excellent vision, and pausing the lure will only allow them an opportunity to take a look at it and realise it’s not the fleeing prawn they thought it was. Continuing with a constant twitching retrieve, or even speeding the retrieve up, will usually turn lookers into eaters.
One great thing about this technique is how often it seems to select out larger whiting. The by-catch, being big bream and the occasional flathead, isn’t too bad either!
This summer activity is perfect for those short of time or simply enjoying a holiday near an estuary, and can be safely done from Gippsland in Victoria all the way up to southern Queensland in the east, and from Augusta to about Exmouth in the west. That’s a lot of water!
Next time you want to nail a few whiting, forget about the yabbies and worms and grab a handful of small topwater lures instead!
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