by Ed Halmagyi


Our kids remind us of different things. It’s not a matter of playing favourites, not at all, it’s just that their personalities are distinct and clear, and they resonate with different parts of us.

My daughter is kind and insightful, and she reminds me of everything I want to be. By comparison my boy Finn is unsophisticated and carefree, reminding me of all the things I left behind on my journey to adulthood.

He’s like a little version of myself from before things got, well, complicated.

I still remember being about his age, when I caught my first fish. It was up at Port Stephens, on Jimmy’s Beach. All I had was a fifty-cent reel, and some dinner scraps for bait. But for some extraordinary reason, I found the one fish silly enough to find that interesting.

A sand whiting.

I can still feel the excitement of that moment, as I proudly walked along the beach showing everyone and anyone who would listen the monster I’d hooked. And so it was that I looked on with genuine fondness when my three-year-old son paraded around with the whiting I caught in Tasmania over Christmas.

Something so small, suddenly became something so big. He’d conquered the world.

You’ll find sand whiting all over Australia’s east coast, amongst the surf breaks and estuaries, especially over the summer months. When the weather gets colder the Southern School, bay, Shortnose and King George whiting are easier to catch, although pippies, peeled prawns and soft plastics are better bait than scraps.

Whiting in all its forms is a delightful fish to eat. Moist, sweet and tender with the mildest briny aftertaste. It comes at a premium price, but once you’ve tried it you’ll understand why.

Whiting should never be over-cooked. If anything, take it off the stove a fraction early. The dense flesh will continue cooking even out of the pan, so you needn’t be concerned about your dinner being underdone.

Oh, and go easy on the garnish. Whiting has a subtle flavour profile, so choose something simple and earthy to bring out its best. Simple and earthy? Now that’s my boy to a tee!!!
Sand whiting and olive roti parcels

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