The mullet are coming
  |  First Published: April 2014

The past few mullet runs have not been spectacular to say the least, but this year should produce a big run of mullet. I have spent a couple of weekends up in the freshwater reaches of the Manning and the number of mullet schooling up is nothing short of amazing. There are many thousands of larger sized fish that will run this year, as well as heaps of smaller fish that will not be ready to run until next year.

It has been a particularly dry year for the country above Wingham and this means all the freshwater parts of the Manning. The river is only trickling from Mount George up to the headwaters of the river. While several good showers of rain have been experienced by the coastal areas, not enough rain has fallen upstream to put a run in the river. Consequently we are experiencing water restrictions which will become more severe if we don’t get good falls in the headwaters of the Manning. It must rain soon or there will be no run in the river and the mullet will not be able to get out to spawn when they want to.


Because of the lack of run in the river, the water is much more salty up towards Wingham than it usually would be. Consequently, the fish are concentrated further up the river. Good catches of bream and flathead have been made up around the islands and up towards Abbots Falls. Some anglers have been taking good bream on surface poppers and flathead on soft plastics. A flathead of 1m in length was caught and released just upriver from Harrington and 5 other big fish were seen departing the scene when the big fish was hooked.

Luderick have been biting mostly at night on fresh yabbies, but a few fish have been taken from outside the weeds at Chinamens Point. Mulloway were absent on the last full moon and I can only suspect that the schools of baitfish offshore kept them too busy to come into the estuary.


Beach fishing is all about tailor at the present time. Fish to a bit over 2kg are being taken on chromed lures spun where the birds are working. Occasionally fish are taken on pilchards and bonito strips but the big bags fall to lures. The bite is not confined to sun up and sun down; any time the birds are working the tailor will be there.


The main species on the bite at this time are teraglin and mahi mahi. The mahi mahi can be caught around the FAD and are better than legal size. The trag are mainly coming from the northern grounds and are around the 2-2.5kg mark. Snapper have been off and on the bite with the best fish going 6kg. Bonito and slimy mackerel are around in big numbers and are easy to catch for bait for snapper and jew.

The mullet will run by ANZAC Day and it should be an exciting time at Harrington as they will come down the river and get in behind the sandbank in the mouth of the river. The sharks and jew will have a great time tearing into them while they are trapped up against the sand bank. Tailor will be plentiful and jew of all sizes will be chasing the mullet. There will also be plenty of bream in the lower reaches of the river as they run after the mullet have left.

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