Artificial baits can be one of the best methods for catching whiting, especially in clear water. Residing mostly in the surf zones along the coasts, whiting usually rely heavily on a good sense of smell, as well as “taste” from those barbels under its chin. That doesn’t necessarily mean that their eyesight is useless however.
There are many areas around the state of Florida that are known for their crystal clear waters in the summertime. Some of these areas, such as in the Panhandle, house many whiting during the summer, and can be fished using artificial jigs and flies quite successfully.
Lures for Catching Whiting
Most of the artificial lures that work for whiting include small jigs, similar to those used for Florida pompano, and flies. Many anglers will tip the hooks of the jigs or flies with just a small piece of shrimp or squid to add a nice pungent smell to the jig. When using lures to catch any fish, you want to either (a) mimic that fish’s natural diet, or (b) make the fish angry enough to bite at your lure. Whiting fall more into category (a), where you want to use lures that mimic small shrimp, crabs, and fish within the surf.
Jigs for Whiting
Jigs are perhaps the most effective artificial lures for whiting. Whiting are generally bottom-feeders, eating small crabs, clams, and worms in the surf. To use the jig effectively, bounce the jig along the bottom, kicking up sediments along the way. This will catch the eye of schooling whiting, and lead to more bites, as opposed to not letting your lure hit the bottom. As mentioned before, placing a small piece of shrimp or squid on the hook will drastically increase bites.
Artificial Flies for Whiting
Many anglers across Florida are blessed with fly waters where they can catch whiting. Although small, whiting are basically miniature versions of Redfish, and can really pull a line, making it an excellent fly target. When using flies, target whiting in clear water. Clear water can be found either be within the inlets, in the deep troughs and sandbars on calm surf days, and in many calm areas around the Panhandle, just to name a few. The technique is similar to that for Florida pompano – using a sinking leader and fly, making strips to bounce the fly along the bottom and stirring up sediments for attention. A small piece of shrimp or squid may also be tipped on the end of a fly, just as is commonly done with regular jigs in the surf, for more action.
A General Statement about Whiting Lures
Although tipping a jig or fly with some natural bait – usually shrimp or squid – sort of defeats the purpose of using an artificial lure in the first place, it is really just a matter of effectiveness. Taking the best of both worlds, you can have the fishy scent that would bring a fish to your bait, as well as the control of covering more ground and stirring up the action yourself using an artificial lure.