Winter Whiting

Sean McSeveny
  · Sean McSeveny  · December 1, 2014

Whiting fishing has been pretty good over the weekend, and Chesil fished pretty much as I expected it to do, with the exception of the lack of Plaice. However I am going this morning to see if I can hunt a few down. What was in good supply were Whiting. To some the numbers were just too many, with most Cod baits being ripped to bits with small Whiting.

Whiting are one of the more prolific fish that are available in the winter. I always associate Whiting with cold calm clear nights, but they can be caught in most conditions. They are predominantly nocturnal feeders, and as soon as the sun drops the Whiting move closer to shore. Best baits for Whiting are strips of Mackerel or Squid fished in size 1 or 2 hooks, and can easily be caught on a flapper rig. You don’t normally have to cast very far, so they are ideal for novice anglers to target. Occasionally you can pick up a big Whiting and they often come during the day, just as this 2lb + fish did for Lee Hayler.

Whiting lee

Sea Conditions:

Water temperature 12.7 °c.

Chesil Beach: calm and clear water.

Portland:  Small swell, with clear water.

Portland Harbour: Calm with clear water

Weymouth Bay: Calm with clear water

Chesil Beach forecast: I know everyone is desperate to get out and try for Cod again this weekend, but I don’t think it will fish that well for them. It should be ideal for Whiting, and I would be surprised if we didn’t see some decent sized Pollock. This is the time of year that they normally show, and it is not unusual to catch them over 5lb. They like fish baits, especially Mackerel. As usual I normally target them during the day, as once the light fades, mackerel baits bring in lots of Dogfish.

I mentioned earlier that we are seeing a number of Plaice from the Ferrybridge and Portland end of Chesil. This should continue for a couple of weeks before they move off.

If you do decide to go for Cod, then I would recommend trying to get hold of Peeler Crab. They are far more likely to draw the fish in when conditions are like they are at present. You always stand good chance of picking up a late Smoothound or Bass on Peeler.

Portland: Happy to report that there seems to be a lot more Pollock from the rock marks than there has been all year. It has been a bad year so far for Pollock, but this change in temperature seems to have done the trick. The best method of targeting Pollock is with lures. Dawn and dusk are normally the most productive times. Unfortunately those times do not coincide with high water, so marks such as Portland Bill, will not be as productive as Chesil Cove or Church Ope Cove.

Portland Harbour: It is not only Poole that produces Flounder! Portland Harbour can often produce good numbers of decent sized fish. If you are fed up of fishing Chesil and fancy an easy change then marks such as Hamm Beach and all along the back of the Rodwell trail to Sandsfoot Sailing Club will produce Flounder. You have a high chance of picking up a Bass as well.

Weymouth Bay: There is a lot of coloured water coming out of the harbour, due to the recent rains. This will effect Flounder and Squid fishing, whilst the tide is ebbing. However give it an hour or so into the flood and the water should clear, allowing those species to move in closer to the piers.


Good flounders are still being had from all marks in the harbour. Catches of two and three fish per angler are not uncommon with some flounder reaching nearly 3 pounds in weight!
Distance has proved it’s point again. After speaking with tom a fishing buddy of mine. He told me he had five flounders and the maximum distance he was casting was about 25 feet that’s about 8 metres in new money.
Good bass are also being caught feeding in the shallows as one of tom’s party  caught a nice one weighing in at  5lb 3oz.

Building work continues at Shore road and the stream of groundbait continues. The trick to catching here is to keep mobile and be prepared to move with the tide staying downstream of the building work. This is where the fish will be waiting. Mopping up any morsels of food washed downtide along the beach.

Guiding: I still have a few slots left between now and the end of the year, so if you are interested in lure or bait fishing over the next two most productive months of the year then drop me an email to [email protected]


2 Responses to "Winter Whiting"
  1. Avatar Graham Cole says:

    I fished Baiter this afternoon and caught three good size flounders one after another from 2pm till 2:20 then not another bite till I left at 6pm !!!!! Any reason ? Explanation ?

    • Sean McSeveny Sean McSeveny says:

      The simple answer is there may just have been a few flounders mooching around that area at that time and you were lucky enough to connect with them.

      Or if you look at it from a different angle. It’s not an exact science and mostly guesswork but look at the tidal graph for that day.
      Low water is around 1am and the flood tide starts to ease up around 04.30am before actually reaching slack water at high tide at 7am.
      Applying this information to the 1st Dec, the incoming flood tide had started to ease up around 2pm-2.30pm. Roughly around the time you caught your fish.
      I’m not saying that’s exactly how it happened but it’s coincidental that you had all those fish then.
      If you fish a lot, next time make a mental note like you had. When you catch a fish and when you get home check the time it was caught with a tide table.
      Better still write it down in a little black book. Noting the time, date, weather conditions and of course the tidal state.
      Over time don’t be surprised if you see a bit of a pattern emerge in the species you target. Maybe then next time you can optimise your time to certain tidal states or weather conditions!!

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