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Whiting, Merlangius merlangus

Irish Record Fish: 4.90 lbs 2.23 kgs
Caught: Kenmare Bay 1981
Boat Specimen: 2.2 lbs  1.00 kgs
Shore Specimen: 1.5 lbs  0.68 kgs
Photo Credit: Dr Jacques Moreau

Introduction: The Whiting is a decent fish (much malligned for some reason) which can reach 7 lbs (3 kgs), although anything > 3 lbs (1.3 kgs) is excellent and anything > 2 lbs (1 kg) is a decent fish.  Often associated with mud, it is an inshore fish, and is never found below 100 m.  All Irish coastal waters hold Whiting but they tend to come to prominence from late autumn to early spring, perhaps because the other species are absent.

Boat tactics: You can readily drop down to a 12 or 20 lbs standard boat rig for Whiting, given their average size of under 5 lbs. Any mid-sized rig designed to take Pollack, Coalfish, Cod and other fish will suffice for Whiting, although the are relatively small, so hook sized should be kept at or below 2/0. Most standard bottom fishing techniques tend to work best. A watch lead and flatfish rig will also work well for Whiting.  One useful tip - be very careful of the small needle like teeth as they can inflict a kind of delayed damage - plenty of sea anglers have only realised what Whiting have done to your fingers when they're sitting in the car afterwards!

Shore tactics: From the shore, the number of marks that regularly produced Whiting are rare enough - perhaps because people are a bit remiss in reporting Whiting catches, but as likely because their delicate murmur of a bite is missed by less seasoned and alert anglers altogether!  In the UK people have been known to use a system featuring braid main lines and quiver tip rods (beloved of coarse anglers) to maximise bite detection when fishing for Whiting. Mud rather than sand is the key to finding good Whiting marks, and such marks are rare enough and even more rarely fished. Foynes Pier is a known Whiting mark, but the question is "why would you be bothered with Whiting when you can have Codling?" Answer: When there are no Codling!