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King George whiting live in coastal marine habitats and estuaries, over sand, weed and low-lying reefs. In South Australia KGW prefer sandy environments during summer and reef environments during winter. When targeting these bottom feeders search for areas that would provide a likely food source such as: Sand patches amongst the weed, sand patches amongst low-lying reef, broken rubbly bottom and sandy channels.
While King George whiting can be taken on sandworm pattern soft plastic lures, it is widely accepted that bait fishing is far more productive, although less challenging. When fishing from a boat, anchor up and, depending on the rubbish fish situation, use a bit of berley to bring them in. Use a paternoster rig with droppers as close to the bottom as possible. KGW will whack at the bait but often they sit and suck on it so keep the bait moving, feeling for weight by gently lifting the rod tip and bouncing the bait back to the boat. If there is little action after 5-10 minutes then move. There’s no need to get too technical with your King George whiting fishing. However, their often-subtle biting nature does call for an approach with a touch of finesse, so a lightweight, sensitive outfit will be most suitable. A 7’-8’6”, 2-5kg graphite rod with a sensitive tip will aid in bite detection and work well whether you’re fishing from shore or in a boat. Match it with a small 1000-2500 sized reel and you’re in business.
When it comes to berley, know when enough is enough. You need to keep them interested but you don’t want to over-feed them. Fish actively. Constantly work your bait, lifting the rod up and down, feeling for bites or the weight of a fish. Fish with fresh bait. Changing your baits regularly will also increase your success rate. If the spot is not producing move on or try a different technique, perhaps try drifting. Knowing when to move comes down to experience but the sooner you get the hang of it the better.
Targeting King George whiting on bait is great fun and can be a bit of an art form when the fish are timid. Whether fishing out of a boat or from a jetty just be patient and keep trying new things. These fish can be timid but with enough time you will begin to figure them out!