Natural baits are by far the best method for catching whiting. Taking a look at the head of a whiting, you’ll notice small barbels under the chin – they use these barbels to “taste” for things in the water they can eat, which is why a smelly natural bait lures them right in.
The Best Baits for Whiting
Whiting eat a diet consisting of mostly invertebrates – small crabs, clams, shrimp, and marine worms. Although they do eat fish as well, fish are usually a small part of the whiting’s diet, and are thus not the most effective baits for catching them in the surf.
Clams are often regarded as the best whiting bait. They stay on a hook very well, and are very pungent – important for the keen smelling faculties of whiting.
The clams found frozen in bait shops are usually the perfect size, just about one-inch in diameter.
Shrimp are the second best bait – or best if you ask some expert surf anglers – for catching whiting in the surf. The trick to using shrimp for whiting is to make sure to peel them. This will increase the scent in the water, allowing the whiting to easily find it. You also want to make sure not to put large pieces on the hooks, sticking with one to two-inch pieces.
Sand fleas, also known as Mole crabs, are famed for their ability to catch another highly targeted surf fish – the Florida pompano. They’re one of a whiting’s preferred natural prey and can be found either blanched or frozen in bait shops, or found live right there in the surf. Look for them as the water recedes after a high wave.
When it comes to a smelly invertebrate, you can’t get much better than a squid. Squid works very well for whiting, especially on rougher surf days, when the smell travels far in the water.
Other Baits that will Catch Whiting
Basically any smelly or live invertebrate you can get your hands on will catch a whiting. This may include mussels, oysters, fiddler crabs, mud crabs, or even tiny blue crabs. Whiting do have a pretty small mouth, so remember to either cut your bait into small one-inch pieces, or use about that size of whole bait.