Hey, fishers! In this blog post, I'm going to tell you all about King George Whiting, and how you can catch King George Whiting when you visit us down in Margaret River.
I’m a local expert on fishing AND a local expert on Margaret River, so you can trust this detailed guide on King George Whiting in Margaret River!
They're a great target for anglers in both estuaries and offshore waters, and they provide some great table fare when cooked up correctly. So read on to learn everything you need to know about hunting down these tasty fish!
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What Is A King George Whiting Fish?
The scientific name of King George Whiting is Sillaginodes Punctata and it is also known as the Spotted Whiting, KG, KGW, KG Whiting, and King George Fish.
What Is The Range Of King George Whiting?
The range of King George Whiting is from Dongara in Western Australia, around the south coast, to Botany Bay in New South Wales in the East.
Description of the King George Whiting Fish
King George Whiting is the largest and most sought-after whiting species found in Australia, commonly caught between 35cm-60cm but reaching 72cm in length and over 4kg in weight, with the larger species found in the oceanic waters, while the smaller fish are found near seagrass beds inshore or in estuaries before moving out to more open waters. King George Whiting is distinguishable from other Australian whitings by its down-turned mouth and the unique pattern of spots and broken dashes along the body.
Where Can I Catch King George Whiting?
King George Whiting is located right along the Perth metropolitan coastline and is easily targeted from both boat and shore. Many anglers find them an extremely popular species to target with their fishing lines, making it possible for you too!
Areas such as Rottnest Island 3 Mile Reef, 5 Fathom Bank, Cockburn Sound, Parmelia Bank, and Carnac Island all have great opportunities when looking to catch these fish. Around Hillarys, Cottesloe, and City Beach there are large patches of King George Whiting not far offshore.
In regional areas, Dunsborough, Augusta, Denmark, Walpole, Albany and Esperance all have plenty of King George Whitings, and many Perth anglers head south to catch them.
King George Whiting is a common species of fish that can be found in both deep and shallow waters. You can catch them at shore-based locations including ocean marina rock walls, beaches, and rock platforms. They prefer weed-filled areas with sand or reef to roam around on but will venture out into deeper water when older.
Where Can I Catch King George Whiting In Margaret River?
We like to fish in the Blackwood River in Augusta and have caught plenty of King George Whiting here. Our experience is that you can catch them in quite shallow water, so 1m of water is still plenty to catch them in, as long as it has the right weedy bottom. Another location to try is the Augusta Marina, along the rock wall out into the ocean, or Flinders Bay.
King George Whiting Season
King George Whiting doesn’t have a set season. We’ve caught King George Whiting year-round in Augusta, but the experts say that Spring to early Winter is the best time to fish for them.
King George Whiting Size
You can keep any King George Whiting that is 28cm or bigger, and keep 12 of them as your daily bag limit in WA, as of June 2022, but please check the Department of Fisheries Official Site for up-to-date information. Please also keep in mind that the females reach maturity between 32cm and 36cm, well above the 28cm legal limit, so if you can, try to keep only the bigger ones, as any females caught under 32cm have likely not had a chance to breed yet.
Best Time To Catch King George Whiting
The best time to catch King George Whiting is at the top of high tide or the bottom of low tide, but different locations can vary. It’s also best to fish for them from Spring to early Winter, so they are virtually a year-round proposition.
How To Catch A King George Whiting Fish
Would you like to know how to catch King George Whiting? The experts at Western Angler advise using a 2-4kg rod and a 4-6kg mono. I have caught King George Whiting on small and large rods alike as well as handlines, so don’t let what you have deter you from trying.
Once you have found a spot you would like to fish, drop your berley and cast out, holding your rod at all times, and gently raise and lower the tip to keep the bait at the bottom. King George Whiting do not hit hard, and you’ll want to be able to feel them sucking the bait. Then, when you feel them bite, raise the rod tip firmly and you’re on.
A good tip we use if we’re on our boat is that King George Whiting likes to move around with the tide, so if you have given a spot for 30 minutes and aren’t getting any, time to pull up anchor and try another spot nearby. Do this until you eventually find them.
King George Whiting Bait
The best bait to catch a King George Whiting is fresh squid tentacles, shelled cockles, coral prawns, and strips of mulie. Personally, we have always used strips of mulie in the Blackwood River and have never had too much trouble catching them. Doug Clegg recommends using unpeeled coral prawn tipped with squid strips. They apparently prefer fresh bait, if you have time to catch it, but we use frozen bait all the time and have still caught them.
King George Whiting Lures
The best lures for catching King George Whiting are 20-40g small hard bodies, however, depending on the depth anything between 5g and 80g can be used. These lures are on the lighter side, but work because they look EXACTLY like a prawn.
They will also eat a range of 2-4 inch soft plastics, but your best bet is to try catching them with bait.
King George Whiting Rig
The best rig for catching King George Whiting is the Paternoster Rig, with small hooks and traces if you’re fishing from shore, going larger as you go deeper. A light, running sinker rig is also popular. Circle hooks and long shank hooks will work, with a size #4-6 hook suitable in bays and a size #4 to 2/0 for deep water whiting. Here is a great fishing hook set that would well and truly get you started.
King George Whiting Berley
It can help your chances of catching King George Whiting if you use berley. You can try pre-mixed berley pellets from a tackle shop (we have a great list of Camping, Fishing and Diving shops to try in the Margaret River region here), which you can drop directly under your boat or over the edge of the jetty, and drop your baits straight down.
Some fishermen will say not to berley up, as you can attract too many other fish into the area which will make it harder to get the whiting. We have caught whiting before with and without berley, a lot of it depends on the day and the conditions, but just try it out and see if it works.
How To Fillet King George Whiting
Would you like to know how to fillet King George Whiting? It’s important to know how to fillet King George Whiting correctly, so you don’t waste your catch, and you can get the most out of it. Make sure you’re wearing a safety glove on your non-cutting hand, and you have yourself a nice, sharp filleting knife (this is the exact one we use and would recommend it highly!)
These are the steps to follow;
- Holding the head in your non-cutting hand, place your knife behind the pectoral fin at a 90-degree angle to the backbone, and cut down behind the head, cutting halfway through.
- At this point, place your non-cutting hand firmly on top of the fish, and turn your knife down towards the tail at a 45-degree angle and cut, following the backbone where the fin is.
- Now you have your first fillet, cut the rib bones off.
- Whiting can be eaten with the skin on, or skin off, but if you want to take the skin off, grip the tail end of the fillet, and slide your knife between the fillet and the skin, heading in the direction of where the head would have been. It should come off quite easily.
- Repeat on the other side and you’re done! Two delicious King George Whiting fillets, ready to cook.
There may be some bones, but they are small and can be eaten, just not recommended for small children.
How to Store King George Whiting
Scale, gill, gut and clean your King George Whiting before wrapping the whole fish and fillets in plastic wrap or keep in an airtight container. King George Whiting can be stored in the fridge for 3 days, or freeze whole fish for up to 6 months and fillets for up to 3 months.
What Does King George Whiting Taste Like?
King George Whiting makes excellent eating, with a delicate, sweet flavor and medium-textured flaky flesh. It combines the excellent eating quality of all whiting with a fish large enough you can get generous boneless fillets from.
How To Cook King George Whiting
King George Whiting can be steamed, poached, deep-fried, pan-fried, stir-fried, baked, braised, barbecued, or even raw as sashimi.
Our favorite way to eat it is to take the fillets, dust them in flour, then drop them in an egg wash, before coating them in breadcrumbs, then shallow frying them. My kids like them squeezed with lemon, then dipped in a “secret sauce” of mayo mixed with tomato sauce.
King George Whiting Recipes
Are you looking for some inspiration on how to cook your fresh catch! Below are some ideas on how you can cook your King George Whiting.
Do King George Whiting Have Bones?
Yes, like all fish, King George whiting have bones. However, the bones are very small and delicate, so they're easy to miss when you're eating them. What's more, the flesh of the fish is very tender, so you won't even notice the bones unless you look for them! I do recommend being careful with the bones around small kids, my kids are not fans so we make sure to triple-check before giving them the fillets.
Is King George Whiting High In Mercury?
King George Whiting are not known to be high in mercury. In fact, they are generally considered to be a very safe fish to eat, even for pregnant women and young children. However, as with all fish, it's always best to check with your doctor or healthcare provider before consuming them if you have any concerns.
Is King George Whiting Safe During Pregnancy?
Yes, King George Whiting is safe to eat during pregnancy. As I mentioned before, they are not known to be high in mercury, so you can feel good about enjoying them while you're pregnant. However, as with all fish, it's always best to check with your doctor or healthcare provider before consuming them if you have any concerns.
Are King George Whiting Good To Eat?
Yes, King George Whiting are considered to be a very good fish to eat. They are delicious and have a delicate, flaky texture that is perfect for people who don't like fish with a lot of "fishiness." What's more, they are very low in mercury and other contaminants, so you can feel good about eating them on a regular basis.
How Much Is King George Whiting?
If you didn’t have any luck catching them, you can always buy King George Whiting from a reputable fishmonger. The price of King George Whiting varies depending on the season and where you live. In general, they are a fairly affordable fish, especially when compared to other seafood options. However, if you're looking to save money, I recommend buying them whole and filleting them yourself at home. This will save you a few dollars per kilo, and the fish will taste just as fresh and delicious.
There you have it! Everything you need to know about King George Whiting. Catching King George Whiting is great fun, and an enjoyable hobby we do together as a family. I hope this guide has been helpful and that you'll consider adding them to your menu this year.
If you catch any in the Margaret River Region, consider tagging us @accommodationmargaretriver so we can share with our audience! Thanks for reading!