Australian saltwater fly fishing is still quite young and getting stronger each day. Every year there seems to be a new hot target to chase in some exotic location that costs a bomb but don't get me wrong, we all would love to tick these off our list it's just a bit hard the way the world is right now.
More recently I’ve been surprised at how many people are interested in chasing Whiting using a fly rod (and bream for that matter), both fish have had me in their spell for many years and I have few tricks up my sleeve for targeting these fish on fly that I’m more than happy to share.
FLIES FOR WHITING
The first thing that I have learnt is that small subsurface flies like my Whiting Mesmeriser, Crazy Charlies, Clousers, and Shrimps, or small poppers and my skipping prawn are the main flies that draw most of the bites. When it comes to retrieves it’s all about matching the hatch. Popper flies I like to keep moving with a little skip or pop like a prawn fleeing, so casting across the creek and letting the tide help keep the fly moving and giving a strip to make the pop, the ensuing surface strikes are very cool.
The way that I like to fly fish for Whiting is by sight casting in the shallows. The key is to find a flat and fish the back end of it before it drops off into deeper water and wait for the fish to move onto the flat to feed. Once the flat has more water on it, weed beds are a great place to look for feeding fish. Subsurface flies I like to start off quick to draw interest and then fish it to the fishes behaviour.
Floating fly lines like the Airflo SuperDri Bonefish with long leaders are what I use. When it comes to rods a Primal MEGA 6wt is an ideal all rounder. Brett Wilson and I were lucky to put the Scott Flex 4wt through its paces for the first time over this weekend with many Bream, Whiting and Flathead testing them. We found them light and heaps of power to cast into the wind when we needed to and with heaps of finesse for the most spookiest of fish on the flat. While this rod is no longer available the Primal RAW 5wt will be very similar and well suited to the task.
So while you are dreaming of the next exotic location to chase your dream fish why don't you test yourself and look down along the Australian coast where you live and go chase Whiting on the flats, I think you will be surprised. I will always remember what Dean Butler said on our trip “they are just like Bonefish only smaller” and when he refuses to leave a flat catching these guys, you know it’s a blast.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Shannon Kitchener is a fly fisherman, artist, fly tyer, film star, and destroyer of all things creepy and crawly. If you want to learn how to tie a few of his super effective saltwater fly patterns then just head to his YouTube channel.