All the indication point to a great month of fishing for the thousands of visitors who spend their January holidays at Harrington.
The Manning River has been clear and most of the heavy rain has fallen on the coastal strip.
Our beaches have formed up beautifully due to the north-easterlies which have blown fairly consistently for some weeks.
Even though there have been a few days of southerlies, the beaches have retained their gutters and there is good whitewater spilling over the outer banks.
Most of the beaches are 80m-100m wide and it is no trouble to travel their full length at high tide. Of course, tyres must be deflated and soft sinkholes avoided for safest travel.
The Manning River is producing great catches of small to medium-sized flathead from the lower parts of the river near Harrington and Manning Point and right up to Taree and above.
Soft plastics are catching lots of fish but bait anglers have been getting their share. It seems that cloudy, overcast days are the best for plastics while bait works better on bright , sunny clear days.
Bream, whiting, luderick and school jew are also on the bite. Bream to a kilo have been taken from the rock walls at the mouth of the river while luderick have been caught on green weed during the day and on fresh yabbies at night.
Whiting are falling to live yabbies and to small surface poppers worked over the sand flats at the mouth of the river.
School jew to 4kg have been taken on soft plastics and the occasional better fish to 11kg has also turned up.
With the beaches now having some formation, tailor, salmon and school jew are being caught from the gutters and flats.
Crowdy Beach has better formations at present but this month Harrington Beach will be firing.
Beach worms and squid heads are the best bait for jew but sometimes soft plastics work wonders on the beach.
Pilchards and metal lures account for the tailor and salmon.
Snapper to 7kg have been plentiful on bait and soft plastics out to 40m.
Flathead can be caught on all the recognised drift grounds and it is no trouble to get a bag limit of fish.
Good pearl perch have been taken from wide of Mermaid Reef but a few leatherjackets have still been causing problems for bottom fishermen.
January can be very hot at Harrington so the best times to fish are early mornings and late afternoons and into the night.
Flathead in the river fish bite best at close to slack water, especially when you’re live-baiting with a bobby cork rig.
Jewfish also appreciate the slow moving water either side of high or low tide. Live bait, worms, squid and fresh fish slabs, as well as soft plastics, will take fish from the river and the beaches.
Outside anglers have to contend with the north-easterlies that blow in the afternoon so it is best to leave early and get back to the harbour by lunchtime.Reads: 1821