The Manning has experienced a flood and several freshes in the past couple of months but is now clearing up nicely.
The river near Taree and up to Wingham is still a bit dirty but the fish are back. The flood was one of the worst experienced by Taree residents but downstream at Harrington it was only an average flood.
The fact that Taree experienced more than 10 days of steady rain ensured that all the gullies and creeks were full of water when the flood hit. Places that had never flooded before were inundated.
The deluge removed a lot of trees above Wingham and cut a few deep runs and holes in parts of the stream, which can only improve the quality of fishing in the upper parts of the river.
The estuary at Harrington is going through a transformation as the main channel to sea undergoes changes.
At the present time the main channel is over against Manning Point and a massive sandbank has nearly closed the river just out past the end of the wide cement. If the sand bank continues to build up then the river will be like it was years ago and we will be able to walk from the sea wall nearly to Manning Point.
This will not hurt the fishing because some great catches were made from the sand spit years ago.
The fishing has been great for the past few weeks with flathead, bream, jew, luderick and whiting taken in good numbers.
The flathead are particularly numerous with plenty of 3kg to 4kg fish taken on live bait. A few around 7kg have been caught and most have been released, which is very good as these big fish can have a million eggs in their roe.
I tip this Christmas holidays will be one of the best for flathead fishing in the past 40 years.
The beaches have not been doing as well. The tailor have turned up infrequently and have not stayed.
The beaches are poorly formed and regular southerly winds have kept them that way.
A lot of Crowdy Beach is severely eroded and there are places where the beach cannot be driven near high tide
. Despite all these problems, some bream and the occasional jew to 8kg have been landed. Salmon are plentiful and will bite on just about any bait.
Outside anglers have been scoring reds to 7kg from up around Mermaid and down south off Old Bar. There are plenty of pan-sized fish as well.
Pearl perch to 4kg have been caught on the northern grounds wide of Mermaid and good kings have been jigged in 80 fathoms.
Marbled and sand flathead are plentiful on the wider drifts.
December is the time when the dusky flathead show up in full force and this year should be a beauty.
Live bait, soft plastics, hard-bodied lures, whitebait and yabbies all take fish and a boat is not necessary to get a feed.
The luderick will be moving along the wall and weed will catch them during the day and fresh yabbies will do the trick at night.
The beaches should be worth a try and the chopper tailor should arrive just before Christmas.Reads: 1923