Whitings are good eating fish. Many in Malaysia love to fish these fishes and fry them up to be eaten. Battered with a curry batter and deep fried offers gastronomical bliss. KL Ng gives us his take on looking for the wonderful bulus.
The Quest for Whitings
By KL Ng
Recently, me & buddies were on the hunt for silver whitings. Bulus-bulus in Malay or Sar Chui in Cantonese. This is a small fish, found mostly around beaches & sandy areas. Small but very tasty. Sold fresh at wet markets, it can fetch as much as RM 20 per kilogramme. That is how valuable the fish is. We were wondering where on earth are we going to find such valuable fish within relative distance from KL city. Klang isn't exactly the best place to begin due to most of it's shores are muddy in nature. So a few days before a scheduled trip, I did some research & asked around. The feedback was Port Dickson.
So on one Saturday early morning, we left KL for Port Dickson town. Upon arrival, we started scouting the nearby beaches for some suitable fishing spots for whiting. By 8am, we finally settled down on a quiet beach with some man made rock formations as our fishing port. The bait of choice for this trip are prawns. But just to be on the safe side, I brought along some kembung & cockles too.
The rig to use for whiting fishing is the paternoster rig, locally known as apollo (don't ask me why apollo, I have no idea). Using small tiny prawn hooks, rig up 5 to 6 hooks using 10lb mono leader. As will all paternoster rigs, we use a small 20g tear drop sinker to attach to the bottom of the rig. An alternative way to prepare the rig is to buy those ready made Sabiki rigs sold at tackle shops but make sure they are the smallest size you can find. There even some Sabiki rigs specially tied specifically meant for whiting fishing.
The way to prepare the prawn bait is pretty simple. Just take out a prawn, use a cutting knife, cut them into small bits. The smaller the better. Just rig the prawn bits one by one onto the hooks & you are ready to cast.
What we discovered that morning was that, whiting fishing isn't exactly like a bait fishing game. Unlike other forms of bait fishing, we have to actually reel in line slowly from spot to spot to cover more water. Continue to retrieve line slow using the sinker to keep the rig pinned to the bottom. Whitings are opportunistic feeders, their natural behaviour is to hide underneath the sand. So when the bait comes near them, they would swim out to grab it, but only if the bait is presented very close to the bottom.
When it comes to tackles requirements for whiting fishing is very modest & simple. I was using ultralight gear, an Ofmer Infinity 7ft rod, paired with a Shimano FX1000 spinning reel spooled with 10lb braided line. This is good enough to cast out to 15m away rigging with a 20g sinker.
So in the end, did we caught any whitings? The answer is Yes, we did but not as much as we want to but we're satisfied that our bait & rigging technique is workable.