There is no doubt that this year has produced some marvellous fishing in the Manning area. The flathead were as good as they have been for many years, and many small fish were taken on plastics which indicates that next year will be a bolter for flathead catches.
The mullet started to 'run' on Anzac Day and it was great to see so many schools of fish moving about in the mouth of the estuary. At the present time I have no idea how many fish came down the Manning but it would have to be one of the best runs of mullet for years. Bream and luderick tend to move after the mullet have started their journey north and they could be as good numbers as in many years past. Tailor have turned up in numbers with plenty of fish in the 2-5kg range.
Bream are the main species to target in the lower parts of the estuary. They have schooled up and are moving up and down the rock walls at the mouth of the river. The best catches are being recorded at night using mullet strips for bait but mullet gut, yabbies, prawns and bonito strips will all take fish.
The bream are varied in size with fish from just legal to over a kilo being caught. Some school size mulloway of around 6kg have been taken on live bait and soft plastics. No big fish have been caught in the Manning but other locations to the south and north of us have recorded fish of 15-20kg.
There are some luderick in the system but the numbers should increase over the next few weeks when schools of fish start moving up the coast. As well as some thumper whiting of around 650g and plenty of flounder have been caught on bait in the lower part of the estuary.
It has been tailor, tailor, tailor on the beaches, and very little else for the last couple of weeks. However, that should all change when the bream start moving. Some of the rock fishing locals have been scoring much better sized tailor from around the rocks. Morning and evening sessions have produced plenty of good fish of 2kg and better. The end of the sea wall and the beach either side of the wall have fished well for school jew to 3kg on worms and bonito baits.
Outside catches have varied greatly from day to day. Teraglin have been on the bite on the southern grounds with some fish going 5kg. Snapper have been patchy with few big fish coming in and most bags being plate sized fish. Mahi mahi have stayed on the bite on live bait around the FAD. Some nice fish have been landed. There are a few tuna up to 15kg roaming around along the tide lines and they can be taken on trolled lures. Bonito are also plentiful and can be caught on lures as well.
In the Manning May, June and July are the top bream months and this year looks like being a beauty. It can sometimes be a bit cold on the wall at night but if you rug up well you should be able to bring a bag of fish home. Mullet strips, mullet gut, yabbies, prawns and tailor pieces will all take fish. It is best to fish with a good strong mono line of 10kg breaking strain or even a bit better to combat the oysters and barnacles that cover the rocks. A 1/0 or 2/0 hook will suffice. A good torch is necessary but keep the beam away from the water so as not to frighten the fish. Remember to fish the couple of hours either side of high or low water for best results.Reads: 632