Incessant freshes
  |  First Published: February 2011

The Manning system has experienced an exceptional run of freshes. The Manning, Lansdowne and Dawson rivers are running a dark chocolate colour and whenever the water starts to clear then we get another downpour in the headwaters and the mud comes down again.

The freshes have been a boon for anglers in the lower parts of the river, as the bream have been kept down near the mouth and some good catches have been made.

Upstream, some flathead have been caught in the dirty water but not much else.

The amount of mud coming down the river has made some changes to freshwater reaches with lots of mud piled up in places. We need a decent flood to scour out the river and improve the flow.


Flathead have been the best targets to chase on bait and soft plastics. The best fish have been up around 3kg with the average specimen going 800g.

Bream have been caught from the retaining walls at Harrington on yabbies, prawns, fish flesh and crabs.

School jew have been coming into the estuary during the full moon and the dark of the moon. Most fish are 3kg to 5kg with the occasional good fish of 16kg.

The Manning has been clearing when the tide is running in and the jew have been following the dirty water as it is pushed back up river.

It is best to fish where the dirty water and the clear sea water meet. Soft plastics are the way to go.


The dirty water in the river has hunted plenty of bream out onto the beaches.

Good catches have been made on beach worms from Harrington and Crowdy beaches.

School jew, from just legal 45cm 1kg fish to 75cm 5kg models have been in almost plague proportions on Crowdy Beach. Beach worms and squid heads have been the top baits.

Tailor are getting more plentiful and it is possible to catch a feed on pilchards.

The beaches are forming up nicely with some great flats and drains between the two creeks.

Now the jew are on, salmon are becoming a nuisance. They love beach worms and squid heads and every second bait is snaffled by a salmon instead of a jew.


The seas have been reasonably flat and the holidaymakers scored well on snapper wherever there was a bit of reef for the fish to school on and reds to 5kg have been weighed.

There are plenty of bonito to be taken on the troll and they make great bait for the snapper.

We experience lots of calm, hot days in February and this is the time to get out early in the morning and fish floaters or soft plastics around the close reefs for big snapper.

Each year there are a few fish around 9kg or 10kg brought in.

Spanish mackerel turn up for about three weeks at this time of year and can be caught by trolling garfish or metal lures.

The afternoons can be spoilt by the north-easterlies that spring up around lunchtime and blow strongly until dark.

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