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Whiting is one of the popular fishes along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is part of the Drum family of fish. These fish don’t get large, yet are a favorite for anglers as they have a nice flavor and are abundant. Despite its size, whiting puts up a good fight. If you want to learn how to catch whiting, we discuss fishing techniques to help you catch more whiting.
Table of Contents
Types of Whiting
Whiting also called “kingfish”, are actually three different species of fish. They are the Southern, Northern, and Gulf kingfish.
1. Southern Kingfish
The Southern kingfish, also called the southern croaker, is the most common of the three species. It features indistinct vertical stripes of about 7 or 8. It is darker than the gulf kingfish and does not have a dark splotch on the tail tip like the gulf kingfish. Additionally, their flesh is not as firm as that of the other two species.
2. Northern Kingfish
This is the least common of the three species. It features vertical bars that are similar to those of the southern kingfish, but they are darker and more contrasted. It also features a long front spine of the dorsal fin which the other two species don’t have.
3. Gulf Kingfish
The Gulf kingfish, also called the kingcroaker, is the largest of the three. Its body is silver and has no vertical stripes like the other two species. It features a black splotch at the top of the tail.
How To Catch Whiting
Locate The Trough
When you are fishing for whiting, look for two sets of breaking waves. The first set of breaking waves will break near the beach while the second will break a little further off the shore. The trough is the area between the two sets of breaking waves. This is the best location to find whiting.
After finding a trough, set up a 2-hook dropper rig with enough weight on the bottom to cast out to the trough and prevent the waves and current from taking the bait out of the trough. You can use a sputnik weight if more than a 3-ounce of weight is needed. Additionally, a 2 hook pompano rig is also a favorite for many anglers.
You can use two different types of bait until the one that catches more whiting is determined. You can put one bait on the bottom hook and another bait on the top. The most successful bait from the test can then be on both hooks to improve your chances of catching more whiting.
As whiting doesn’t grow large, regular fishing gear will work for whiting. A 9-12 foot surf rod will work for beach fishing. However, it will have to be long and heavy as whiting because you may have to cast far into the water to catch whiting. Use a spinning reel and a medium-action rod if you fish from a pier or dock.
One of the best lines for catching whiting is the braided line. With its small diameter, it has less resistance in the water and in the air. However, the braid is visible, and using a fluorocarbon or monofilament leader is preferred. A 10-15 pound leader will work for both the regular and large whiting.
Circle hooks in the range from #1-1/0 to #2-2/0 work well for catching whiting as they have small mouths. Two rigs that work well for catching whiting in the surf zone are the fish finder and the double dropper loop rig.
Whiting Fishing Tips
1. Whiting relies on their sense of smell to find food.
2. Fresh peeled shrimp tend to do better than live shrimp.
3. Dawn and dusk are the best times to fish for whiting.
4. If you are fishing on the beach, keep the bait close to the shore during the higher parts of the tide, and during the lower parts of the tide, cast the bait further out to the sand bar.
5. Whiting can be found off beaches and near passes, grass flats, and inlets. They prefer sandy or muddy bottoms in shallow water.
6. Whiting is primarily a bottom-feeding fish with a down-turned mouth and a chin barbel that helps detect prey on the sea floor.
7. Whiting likes to feed on shrimp, clams, worms, sand fleas, etc.
8. Whiting grows to about 12 to 20 inches and usually weighs less than a pound.
9. You can catch whiting on any tackle, but medium-light tackle is the best to use.
10. Always opt for a small piece of bait on a small hook when fishing for whiting.
11. If you will use sand fleas as your bait, you can use a sand flea rake to find them on the beach instead of purchasing from the local bait shops.
12. A good time to catch whiting is when the tide is changing from high to an outgoing tide.
13. Whiting likes to rip currents as they dig up prey for them. You can find whiting near rip current channels between the sand bars.
14. Whiting are schooling fish and will run in schools up and down the beach in search of food.
15. Fish for whiting by finding a cut between an oyster bar and a mud flat.
16. You need polarized sunglasses when fishing for whiting.
17. When fishing for whiting, you may also be rewarded with other types of fish like redfish and pompano.
Whiting Best Baits & Lures
1. Fresh Dead Shrimp
Fresh dead shrimp seems to be very effective for catching whiting.
Live shrimp is also used to catch whiting but it doesn’t seem to be as effective as fresh dead shrimp. However, it still works for catching whiting.
3. Sand Fleas
Sand fleas are small crabs that live in the sand along beaches. Use a sand flea rake to catch them or buy them at the local hunting and fishing shops.
Oysters can also be used as bait for whiting. Small oysters are what you should use as they have to be small enough to fit into the whiting mouth and threaded on the hook.
5. Cut Clams
Clams need to be cut to a small size for them to fit into the whiting’s mouth.
Fishbites are artificial baits that can be used to catch whiting, however, fresh dead shrimp is one of the best.
7. Gulf Baits
Small pieces of Gulf baits, an artificial bait, can also be used to catch whiting.
The Bottom Line
Whiting is easy to catch, tastes great, and is abundant on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is a good fish for anglers who like surf fishing. Despite its small size, whiting will put up a good fight. Whiting fishing is exciting, relaxing, and rewarding. In this article, we shared information and discussed how to catch whiting. If you are interested in catching walleye, you can read walleye fishing tips. Additionally, this article, how to surf fish for beginners, gives tips to help improve your surf fishing skills.