Sand whiting Sillago ciliata

Sand Whiting
Sand Whiting

Distribution - Sand whiting, also known as summer whiting, silver whiting and blue-nose whiting, inhabit the inshore waters of eastern Australia including coastal beaches, sand bars, bays, coastal lakes, estuaries and rivers as far as the tidal limits. They typically form large schools across sand banks near river mouths and in the surf zone. Sand whiting generally favour sandy or muddy sand substrates in shallow water to about 6 metres depth.

Size - Sand whiting can reach a maximum length of around 47 centimetres.

Characteristics - Sand whiting are a member of the family Sillaginidae. They are silvery white in colour, with plain yellowish sides. Dark blotches are present at the base of the pectoral fins. In terms of shape, they are fairly elongate and only slightly compressed. The snout is relatively long and conical. Sand whiting feed on marine invertebrates, including crustaceans (yabbies, prawns and soldier crabs), polychaete worms and bivalve molluscs (pipis). Sand whiting use their conical snout to forage for benthic animals through sand and mud. This species is known to bury itself in soft sand and mud when alarmed.

Confusing species - Sand whiting are similar in appearance to yellow-finned whiting (Sillago schomburgkii), however the dark blotches on the pectoral fin base in sand whiting are absent in yellow-finned whiting.

Fishing Tips - Whiting are generally caught using rod-and-line and handlines from shore or by boat with live baits, such as worms, soldier crabs and yabbies (nippers). Fresh peeled prawns can also be used.