Autumn is certainly the time to indulge in a variety of fishing experiences.
There are still a few schools of mullet to leave the river and other schools travelling up the coast from southern estuaries and lakes. The bream are ready to spawn and luderick are moving into the estuary from down the coast. All these fish schools attract the sharks and mulloway to the lower parts of the estuary.
It is a time when it pays to fish a bit heavier than usual because it is not uncommon to hook up on a big jew when you are fishing with a live yabby or a piece of fresh mullet for a bream.
Tailor also move into the river at times and bite-offs can be frequent unless your line is fairly heavy. The salmon have departed for warmer water up the coast but no doubt they will appear again later in the year.
The Manning will be teeming with fish in May as the spawning bream, luderick and mullet move into the estuary for a few days on their way north. At the present time flathead are still on the tooth with plenty of fish to 4kg being hooked. Thankfully, the responsible anglers are releasing the big fish.
Bream are being caught at Cundletown at night on mullet gut and most anglers getting a bag limit per trip. These fish will make their way down the river by the early part of May as there is some dirty water to come down the river from the recent storms.
Chopper tailor are working the schools of whitebait at the mouth of the river and on the sand spits and beaches to the north and south. They are only small fish, up to 35cm, but they are in very good condition.
Tailor can be caught from Harrington beach as well as Crowdy beach but the fish on the northern end of Crowdy beach are much larger than those further south. Most fish go 700g with the occasional larger fish to 900g. Lures and pilchard baits will take fish.
Bream have been scarce on the beaches as most schools are netted when they go around the headland.
Some big blue groper have been caught from Crowdy Head on red crabs and a couple of small pigs to 1.5kg have been taken on cunjevoi bait. Crowdy boat harbour is worth a try for garfish and apart from being great eating, they make top bait for tailor.
The northern grounds have produced snapper to 4kg and pearl perch to 2.5kg. Boats fishing the drift have been picking up plenty of flathead on fish baits.
The bommies are home to countless thousands of slimy mackerel which make great bait alive or slabbed. The north-easterlies have settled in and blow from 11am to dark on most days so the early morning session is the best option.
There will be fishing to suit the most discerning angler come May. Whether it be chasing bream from the training wall, luderick, whiting, jew or flathead or fishing the beaches and headlands for tailor, bream, jew and whiting, there will be plenty of action.
Outside anglers will be able to chase the big snapper with live baits around the close reefs and pick up the occasional big jew as well.Reads: 559