For a while I’ve been wondering whether the fish seasons have been changing, and I believe there’s now enough evidence to say that the fish are at least a month later than they were 40 years ago. For example, in the early 1970s the big female flathead were being caught on the sand in the corner of the wall long before the Christmas holidays started. This year they didn’t turn up in great numbers until the middle of January.
Much the same is happening with the bream. There are no bream on the wall that are fully roed – most fish were about half roed up at the end of June this year. In the old days you would catch fully roed bream in the Manning by the end of May.
The tailor have been turning up late or not at all, and the list goes on. There have been some strange catches of late, with the most recent one being a 15kg Spanish mackerel caught off Old Bar. Usually these fish appear in about the middle of February and stay for a couple of weeks. It is unheard of to catch a Spanish at this time of the year.
This is definitely the best bream season for many years. The bream are biting on just about any bait, and all anglers are catching a bag of fish. The night time anglers are scoring the most fish by fishing the hour either side of slack water when minimum lead can be used. No monster fish have been caught, but a few over 1kg gilled and gutted have been landed.
Luderick can be found in all parts of the river near Harrington. They are eating weed during the day and fresh yabbies at night. Some of the fish caught are 1kg in weight.
A few flathead are still being picked up by bream anglers on yabbies, mullet strips and prawns.
Beach fishing has picked up a fair bit this month. Good catches of tailor and some nice bream have been made from Crowdy Beach while some good mulloway around 10kg have been caught on Harrington Beach.
The headlands have produced the best sized tailor with plenty of fish from 1.5-2kg being taken by spinning gar or bobby corking strips of bonito at dawn and dusk.
The northern grounds above Mermaid and the rocky bottom off Old Bar have produced snapper to 5kg as well as plenty of plate-sized fish. Out in 100m of water, bar cod and leatherjackets have been showing up. There are still surface fish to troll and there are heaps of yellowtail and slimies to catch for bait.
August is still a very productive month for all types of angling. In the estuary bream and luderick will be on the bite while on the beaches tailor and salmon will be the main species to hunt. The rocks will be worth a try for drummer as they should spawn around the end of July.
Some big blue groper will be appearing around the headlands, and outside anglers should be able to pick up some big snapper near the close in reefs. The weather should be cold but not too windy as the strong westerlies we used to get in August don't come along until September.Reads: 641