Spring started much warmer than in previous years. Usually September is notable for its cold nights and strong westerly winds but this year the days were sunny and warm and there were few westerlies.
A couple of weeks ago I fished the beach until after midnight wearing shorts, a T-shirt and a light pullover without feeling cold. This unusual start to spring has been coupled to some mystifying behaviour of some of the schools of fish that visit our part of the coast.
Drummer started to turn up in late July but were few and small. They are still to show in any number.
On the other hand, we still have plenty of tailor to 2kg around the rocks. Usually tailor of this size have gone up the coast before the end of July.
The chopper tailor that start to appear in early August or don't show up until Christmas have just appeared and there are not many of them.
To balance this, flathead are showing up in good numbers in the lower parts of the river and luderick are plentiful along the walls at the mouth of the Manning.
Some big flathead have been landed in the lower parts of the river. Fortunately, most successful anglers have been releasing these big breeders.
This indicates that most fishers can see that by releasing the big females there will be more smaller, better eating fish to catch in a year or so.
Bream are moving up the river and catches at the mouth of the Manning are not as numerous or as large as a few weeks ago.
However, those anglers fishing just before and after slack water at night have still been scoring up to a dozen fish a trip.
Luderick are taking weed during the day and yabbies at night and it is easy to bag out if you need to. The bag limit is still 20 at the time of going to press.
School jew of 2kg-4kg have been caught up river on soft plastics around Chinamans Point and in the lower parts of the Lansdowne River.
Some nice whiting to 400g have been taken on the sand flats at the mouth of the river on worms and yabbies.
The southern end of Crowdy Beach has produced catches of up to half a dozen bream on worms and mullet strips, while further up the beach a few chopper tailor have been caught on pilchards.
Salmon have also shown up but they are only relatively small, up to 2kg. Lures and flesh baits are taking these tough fighters.
Diamond Head has fished well for better-sized tailor to 4kg. The best catches have been made at night around high tide.
Snapper have been the most consistent catch in recent weeks with most boats bringing in a few.
Sometimes the fish are small, only plate size, while on other days reds to 6kg are common. The northern and southern grounds off Old Bar have produced good catches.
The leather jackets have eased off a bit and complaints about line-destroying fish have ceased. Pearl perch and trag have been caught on the northern grounds.
By the time November rolls around flathead should be plentiful in the lower reaches of the river.
The big breeders will be schooling up on the sand flats and while they are quite easy to catch, it is better to release them and let them spawn so there will be heaps more smaller fish to catch.
Luderick will be on the bite from the walls on weed for the float fishers and at night for those floating yabbies along the rocks.
Hopefully the chopper tailor will have turned up in big numbers by then and the beach anglers can get a feed.
The author with a 2kg tailor caught from the beach.Reads: 636