The Manning has been in the best condition of the past five years.
There have been several small freshes which have started the prawns moving and have pushed the bream down the river.
The river above Wingham is running about 30cm higher than normal so there has been plenty of water coming down into the salty part of the river. The prawns have provided a feast for the flathead and bream and the prospects for the Christmas anglers look great.
The walls at the mouth of the river are producing good catches of bream to 900g on yabbies, mullet strips, mullet gut and prawns.
The fish seem to be biting much better when the water has a bit of run in it. When the water is still at high and low tide it is difficult to get a bite.
However, bream can change their feeding habits from day to day and no doubt someone will rack up a nice bag of fish on slack water shortly.
The big breeding flathead are already feeding along the upstream parts of the retaining wall and specimens to 5kg have been caught on live bait.
Unfortunately, some of our club fishers still do not put the big breeders back. A flathead of 5kg to 7kg could produce a couple of million eggs each spawning season.
You need only 20 or 30 of these big fish to spawn to give a good start to next year’s crop of tiny flathead.
As well as the bream and flathead, there are plenty of luderick and whiting to be caught in the lower parts of the river.
The whitebait has finally arrived on our beaches and the gulls are here in thousands feeding on the many schools of baitfish.
Of course, with the baitfish you get tailor and they are not all choppers. Some of the best fish caught to date are a kilo or better.
Lures are taking most fish but pilchards will work at dawn or dusk or when fishing into the night.
Catches of bream have been much better on the beaches with bags of fish to 800g being taken on beach worms and pipis.
Salmon are present in plague proportions and can be caught on bait or lures. They are not much good to eat unless you go to the trouble of making them into fish cakes, when they are quite nice to eat.
Some groper to 10kg and some drummer to 2kg have been caught from the rocks at Crowdy Head.
Conditions have been better than usual for the boat boys and most trips to sea have resulted in plenty of fish.
The NSW FCA’s Garry Chapman Divisional Teams Competition yielded some great catches. A couple of marlin, blue-eye cod, big snapper and plenty of flathead made up the major part of the catches.
A few of the boats were able to locate schools of kingfish from 5kg to 10kg on jigs in water up to forty fathoms deep.
December looks like being an excellent time to fish the river, the beaches and offshore.
Flathead would be the go in the estuary with plenty of fish of a kilo or better on soft plastics while live bait will take the larger ones.
On the beaches, tailor will be the fish to chase but there will also be salmon and whiting.
Outside anglers will be able to chase bonito and mackerel on surface lures while snapper to 6kg can be caught on soft plastics.