That had to be one of the most severe Winters that we have experienced for some time. It was colder than most and the wind and rain have been excessive, to say the least.
In the freshwater part of the Manning the bass moved down river en masse and only started moving up into the freshwater in early August.
Further down the river in the less salty parts, small school jew have been congregating in great numbers. There have been more of them than at any time in the past few years.
These fish should provide some great angling in a couple of years, providing they can avoid the nets on the beaches.
September is usually the most unproductive month of the year, with westerly winds and flat seas making beach fishing a hard task. Rays and sharks are often the only inhabitants of the gutters.
Bream are the species to hunt in the lower reaches of the river with fish to a kilo caught on mullet strips and mullet gut.
Some fish have already moved upstream and by September will be up around Taree and the islands.
Luderick should also have started to move but they are always a little later than the bream.
Flathead should continue to bite right through the year.
School jew have been absent from the mouth of the river for some weeks despite good fish being caught south at Old Bar around the southern entrance of the Manning.
Tailor are very scarce at the moment despite good-sized fish being caught to the south and the north of us. No doubt they will turn up when the baitfish move in close to the beaches.
There are still a few salmon to be caught from Harrington and Crowdy beaches on worms, pilchards and squid.
Fortunately the drummer are about to spawn – some already have – and they can be caught on cunjevoi, prawns and bread.
Some pigs around 2kg have been taken on prawns from the rocks at the end of the sea wall.
A bit of berley will help to get them on the bite. Bread or chook pellets well soaked and mixed will do the job. Remember not to use too much at a time or you will fill the fish up and put them of the bite.
Snapper are the best bet at present with most boats getting a few fish.
Some days fish to 7kg have been brought in while at other times the fish are around 1.5kg-2.5kg. Soft plastics jigged around the inshore reefs have produced the best catches.
Those anglers drifting over the sand have picked up flathead, while leatherjackets have been appearing in greater numbers.
In the river it will be bream and luderick for the visiting anglers while on the beach the chopper tailor should start to appear.
In the ‘old’ days there were no tailor to catch from the end of July to the second week of December but lately they start turning up in August and by Christmas are in big schools along the beaches.
Rock fishers can chase drummer and groper and spin up a couple of choppers for live bait for a jew. Remember, a legal tailor must be 30cm.Reads: 511