The new fishing year started with a bang, with the river producing great catches and a fresh in late January shouldn’t change things greatly.
During a dry December and January the salt water forced its way up to the farthest parts of the tributaries and the fish followed, with the best catches made in the Lansdowne and the Dawson rivers.
Conversely, the beaches and rocks have not fished well at all. There are no schools of baitfish in the area and few gulls and terns on the beaches. When there is little to eat then the tailor, salmon and bream are scarce.
The Manning River had sanded up at the mouth and it was possible to walk from the seawall onto the sand spit at the mouth.
There was very little run along the river wall because the sand was very close to the wall, so catches were not as good as they should be.
The good news is that the flathead, bream and mulloway that had moved up the river will now be more accessible in the lower reaches for the rest of the season.
Luderick were biting well around Chinamans Point and the Lansdowne is fishing great for bream, flathead and mulloway right up to Sandy Point.
Soft plastics have been scoring the best bags of fish.
Bream and flathead have been caught up river above the Bight Bridge at Wingham.
Whiting have been caught on surface poppers on the sand flats in the mouth of the river and in the backwater at Harrington.
Fish have been hard to find on our beaches due to the lack of feed to entice them in close to shore.
Occasional catches of bream and tailor have been made but only two or three fish.
The school jew were taking worms, pilchards and squid a couple of weeks ago but then became hard to find. Usually we get a few good fish on the full moon but so far the full moons have been ruled out by bad weather.
Tailor seem to be fairly scarce along the Mid North Coast this season. It would be about 14 years since we have seen such a bad season.
Outside anglers have been having better results than their shore-based counterparts.
Bait fishers have picked up some small, black marlin and while they are only 12kg-15kg they put on a good show on light line.
Flathead have been plentiful on the drift and small mahi mahi and rat kings have been caught around the FAD.
Snapper to 3kg have been on the bite on bait around the close marks while pearl perch have been taken in 40m.
In March we should see a change in the number of fish on the beaches and around the headlands.
If the tailor do not turn up in numbers then we will have to wait until the end of July before they arrive in numbers.
The river will be the best bet at this time with luderick, bream, whiting and flathead the species to chase.Reads: 1971