This year, the weather conditions in the Manning area have provided a magnificent buildup for the coming mullet run. There have been a couple of ‘freshes’ in the river, and quite a few storms in the headwaters to keep the water dirty in the upstream parts. This has forced the prawns and shrimp downstream and provided plenty of feed for the bream and flathead in the lower parts of the estuary.
The lower part of the Manning is clear of dirty water and is a bright blue in colour. Mullet, garfish, herring and small tailor abound in schools in this part, and all the fish are feeding on them. There are many schools of mullet in the lower parts of the river and some sages think that they will run early, even before ANZAC Day, but I believe they will hold off.
Bream are starting to school up in the lower reaches and some good catches have been made from the upriver parts of the Harrington Wall and the spur wall at Manning Point. Fresh yabbies and flesh baits have worked best. The flathead have moved a bit further upriver and are biting on live baits, yabbies and soft plastics. Whiting are taking worms and yabbies fished on the sandflats in the mouth of the river, and surface poppers have pinned their share of fish as well. Luderick are frequenting the river wall near where the spur used to be, and are taking green weed and cabbage baits during the day, then fresh yabbies at night. A few small mulloway of around 4kg have been caught on live bait near the gantry.
Chopper tailor have turned up in big numbers, and it is possible to catch a good bag of fish each outing. Crowdy Beach is the best spot to try, with catches coming from the northern end. Sizes range from just legal to around 45cm.The southern end of the beach has produced bags of up to 5 bream on worms, mullet strips and pipis. The salmon have moved on and none have been caught for a couple of weeks. Some nice sized tailor have been spun and caught on bait from the rocks on the southern side of the headland at Crowdy.
The last 2 weeks have been a bit rough for outside angling, but before that there were plenty of small black marlin from 20-50kg to troll a lure for. Flathead on the drift off the mouth of the Manning have been the main source of fish for those keen enough to venture out.
April is definitely one of the best times to fish the Manning and the surrounding beaches. The schooling mullet bring the large mulloway and sharks into the estuary, so a live bait or a fresh bleeding slab of tailor, mullet or bonito will certainly get a ‘run’. The beaches and headlands will also provide some good tailor on bobby cork rigs, and a hookup on a big mulloway if fishing at first light or dusk.
Declan McCartney has been getting amongst the garfish.
Aaron Billingsley with a top 42cm bream.Reads: 399