It has been a rather disorganized month for all types of fishing in the Manning area. The rains have been persistent and heavy and the river has not had time to clear before another fresh comes down.
At least the regular freshes have kept the majority of fish concentrated at the mouth of the river.
The freshes have made fishing a bit of an off-and-on proposition in the lower parts of the Manning but when the blue seawater starts to push up the river then the fun begins.
Whiting have been the best for some years, with occasional fish to 40cm and average fish 32cm to 35cm. Beach worms and live yabbies have been the best baits.
Luderick have moved into the estuary when the water starts to clear and have been biting best at night on fresh yabbies fished on unweighted hooks.
Bream have been the most prolific species with the best fish going 1.3kg gilled and gutted. Live herring have been the top bait for these big fish.
Flathead are still plentiful with fish of 2.5kg to 3.5kg also taking live herring.
Tailor have finally arrived in numbers and it is possible to spin or bait-fish for a bag of tailor to a bit over a kilo. Crowdy Beach is producing the best catches at present.
Salmon are still around and are taking lures, pilchards, worms and squid.
Anyone with the agility to climb around the rocks in the centre of Diamond Head could spin or bobby-cork for chance at tailor of 5kg-plus. These big fish prefer the rocks to the beaches but are occasionally caught by anglers fishing for jew from the beaches in the early hours of the morning.
The outside fishers have been scoring the most fish lately.
Mahi mahi have been caught around the FAD and marlin have been sighted in the same area.
Big pearl perch have been taken in 100m of water east of Crowdy Head and bar cod have also been caught at the same spot.
The Shoals is the place to pick up slimy mackerel and bonito for bait. Small snapper and trag have been boated from around Mermaid Reef and further north but the big fish of a few weeks ago have disappeared.
The many bursts of fresh water coming down the Manning have made it hard to predict what will happen with the mullet this year. Usually they run about Anzac Day but so far there have been no reports of them schooling up.
The river should clear up properly in three weeks if no more rain falls in the upper reaches. This should allow the mullet to school and move around in the mouth of the estuary for a few weeks before heading north.
This is the time to float a live mullet out on the big gear and hook a big jew.
I have not been able to find one fisher who has caught a carp upstream of the Killawarrra bridge. It seems that the carp stay in the lower part of the Manning between Abotts Falls and the big hole at the Killawarra bridge.
There must be a reason for this behaviour but I have not been able to think of one. Perhaps they just like that stretch of the Manning.
Reece Sheather caught this flathead in the lower Manning.Reads: 1629