Whiting are found mostly in the surf along the beaches. This is one of the most popular fish to catch in the surf because they are plentiful along the Atlantic coast and throughout the Gulf coast. Whiting are also found on sand and mud-bottoms around piers, bridges, in the passes, sounds and inlets.
How to Catch Whiting
You can easily catch these fish with light tackle and a piece of shrimp. Whiting have small mouths, so make sure you aren’t using bait that is too big. They can be found feeding aggressively in the surf during tidal changes. It is common to find schools of over 100 fish feeding in an area, so once you find them you should do very well. One common mistake surf anglers make when fishing for whiting is that they cast too far. Cast your bait just past the breaking waves and you should be able to catch plenty of fish. Most whiting are caught in the sloughs and cuts that are located within 10 to 20 feet of the shore.
Whiting are small, so you don’t really need heavy gear when fishing for them. You can use medium action spinning rods and reels with 10 pound test line and you really shouldn’t have a problem fishing for whiting. However, at times the surf is rough and it might be better to go with 14 to 20 pound line for casting the heavier sinkers that you’re going to need to keep the surf from bringing your bait in right away. Many anglers will also use a 20 pound fluorocarbon leader to avoid bite-offs from toothy critters that might not realize that your bait is out there for whiting. You will most likely catch a variety of fish from the piers and surf while targeting whiting.
Whiting are good for eating. Because most fish are in the one pound range, most anglers will fry them, but bigger fish can be baked and even grilled on aluminum foil.
Surf fishing is the most popular way to catch whiting. Most anglers that fish for whiting in the surf make the mistake of casting too far. Most of the whiting are usually caught in very shallow water often 10 to 20 feet from the shore. The cuts and sloughs tend to hold the most fish along the beach. The tidal changes in the morning and evening are the best times to fish.
Light tackle is fine for targeting whiting on the beach. Medium action spinning rods and reels with 10 to 12 pound test is plenty for catching whiting in the surf. Most anglers use a drop shot rig, but instead of using a drop shot weight, they will use a pyramid sinker because this type of sinker will do a better job of keeping your bait in place on the bottom. Whiting feed mostly on the bottom, so keep your bait near the bottom if you want to catch more fish. Small pieces of fresh shrimp are the best baits to use for whiting.
Pier fishing can be very productive for whiting. The best fishing for whiting usually occurs in the surf within 20 feet of the beach. Many of the fishing piers allow anglers to fish the surf from the pier and this can be very effective for whiting. Fishing the deeper water of the piers tends to be the least productive for catching whiting. A simple drop shot rig with a pyramid sinker and a small piece of fresh shrimp is all you need to catch whiting from the piers.
Just like most inshore fish, the tidal changes are the best times to fish for whiting. While many anglers will disagree on whether the incoming tide or outgoing tide are the better times to fish for whiting, they are both productive times to fish for whiting. If you can fish during a tidal change in the morning or evening, the fishing is usually always better than if you fish during the day.
Night fishing for whiting is popular on many fishing piers and bridges. Because many of the fishing piers are located just off of the surf, there are usually some great places to target whiting in just 2 to 3 feet of water near the surf from up above on the piers. The piers will usually offer some decent lighting at night, which helps attract fish to the area. Whiting do feed at night and it is possible to catch them in bunches if they move into your area.
Some anglers will also fish in the surf at night. Fishing can be good from the surf at night, although, you need to careful and it’s smart to bring a buddy at night. Depending on what kind of lighting is in the area that you’re fishing, night fishing from the surf can be quite challenging. Bringing multiple fishing rods that are already set up and ready to go is a must so you can just grab another rod and continue fishing if you end up getting a tangle or snapping a line. Just like during the day, a small piece of fresh shrimp fished on the bottom is the best way to catch whiting.