The Gold Coast Bulletin - - LIFESTYLE -

THERE are few, if any, fish in the sea that are bet­ter eat­ing than the mighty whit­ing.

Lucky for us on the Gold Coast there are plenty of places to catch them, but un­for­tu­nately thanks to net­ters many of the whit­ing we catch in the surf and some es­tu­ar­ies are ei­ther un­der­size or barely le­gal.

There is one lo­ca­tion that the net­ters can’t get to and as a re­sult it con­sis­tently pro­duces some of the big­gest whit­ing in the coun­try that are not only awe­some fun to catch but many claim to be the best eat­ing whit­ing in the coun­try. The Nerang River.

The most fa­mous lo­ca­tion for big el­bow slap­pers in the Nerang River is the coun­cil cham­bers but there are many less crowded lo­ca­tions that pro­duce the holy grail of whit­ing fish­ing: the 40cm plus whit­ing.

Try the run-in tide near the south­ern side of the Sun­dale Bridge, as well as the green bea­con on the east­ern side of Chevron Is­land be­tween Budds Beach.

Many of the sandy canals here are full of wrig­gler­worms, which means the whit­ing have end­less food source.

You can use these wrig­gler­worms as bait but the best bait by far is blood­worms.

I have had nights fish­ing with reg­u­lar sand worms catch­ing no fish while the boat next to me catches whit­ing after whit­ing be­cause he has blood­worms and I don’t.

Un­for­tu­nately blood­worms are not the eas­i­est bait to catch.

Go to YouTube and there are plenty of tu­to­ri­als to help you catch them, but be pre­pared to get very muddy.

A few bait shops sell them but they are very ex­pen­sive.

As for gear the most com­mon setup is 6lb line with a three or four-ball sinker. You want a fairly long trace so I rec­om­mend around 2m and then a size 4 short shank hook.

The run-in tide is the most pro­duc­tive time to fish and given how busy the Nerang River is it is al­ways bet­ter to fish at night.

The lead up to a full moon is pro­duc­tive as well. You will no­tice the bite drops off on the tide change.

Given how plen­ti­ful the food source for big whit­ing is in the Nerang River they can be dif­fi­cult to hook (there is a rea­son they have grown so large, they’re not stupid).

The first sign will be a few bumps on the end of your rod, your in­stinct will be to strike but if you do you’ll miss.

Leave your rod alone and wait, the whit­ing will re­turn and when your tip com­pletely bends over that means they are hooked.

The le­gal size for whit­ing is 23cm and there is a com­bined to­tal bag limit of 30, mean­ing no mat­ter how many peo­ple are on board you can’t take more than 30 which, in my opin­ion, is way too much.

For sus­tain­able fish­ing 20 would be more than enough.

Good luck, happy fish­ing and happy eat­ing the best fish in the Nerang River.

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