Commonly referred to as Schoolies!
The western school whiting would have to be one of the most popular target species Australia wide. They are a plentiful species that is well known for its fantastic table qualities and ease of a catch. There are typically two separate varieties of school whiting available to Australian anglers, the western school whiting – (Sillago vittate) and the eastern school whiting – (Sillago flinders).
School whiting can be located along the entire coastline of Australia making them the most popular bread and butter species available today. They are generally encountered in water depths of 1 – 40 meters.
School whiting are a smaller, delicate species that averages around 20 – 30 cm in length but can grow to over 40cm. Larger specimens are generally located in water depths of around 30 – 35 meters.
School whiting prefer shallow bays and off shore waters to 40 meters with large areas of sand present. Larger specimens may also be encountered in deeper waters to 50 meters.
School whiting can be easily identified by their small sizing and complete lack of dark spots or yellow fins.
Whiting are one of the finest eating fish in the ocean!
School whiting are a feisty species that do provide a fairly good account for themselves on ultra light tackle delighting anglers as they materialize from the gloomy depths.
Ultra light spin and over head combos are ideally suited to targeting most whiting species both from shore or from boat with braided, gel spun and nylon lines with breaking strains of around 3 – 6kg proving ideal. Light 10 – 20lb nylon or fluoro carbon leaders of around one rod length help to prevent the fish from seeing brightly coloured lines when fish are being fussy during calm, clear conditions.
Small cut pieces of peeled prawn, squid or fresh fish as well as worms are all sensational baits for catching school whiting with very small bait chaser styled rigs also proving to be successful at times. Multiple hook rigs are preferred for this exciting style of fishing. (Please check state rules and regulations for the amount of hooks you are legally able to use per rig!)
Using a firm bait that will stay on the hook such as ox heart or squid is mostly preferred for school whiting.
Rising or full tides are best suited for targeting whiting around most areas although some deep water locations will also produce good numbers of fish during low and falling tides. New moon phases are also preferable for most fish species including whiting.