There’s no doubt about it, we have had some interesting weather leading up to the mullet moving out of the river and heading north.
First of all there was a big fall of rain — up to 300mm in places. Following this, the southerly winds hit with yet more rain. This put a good fresh in the river and moved the mullet down to the lower parts of the estuary. After that, the winds blew solidly from the west to south west for a week. A few small schools of mullet moved out a couple of days before ANZAC day, but on the afternoon of the 26th, 1 of the largest schools of mullet seen in the last 20 years or so headed around Crowdy Headland, despite the attention of heaps of dolphins, sharks, mulloway and other predatory fish. It took 2 crews to net the fish and then some evaded the nets and moved on up the beach. There are still a lot of mullet in the river and these will move out over the next couple of weeks.
The Manning is very dirty up river around Taree and Cundletown, and only the last couple of kilometres of the river holds clear water. Bream numbers are building up in the estuary, with local anglers scoring bags of fish at night on mullet strips and yabbies. No really big fish have been taken, with the best going 800-850g.
Luderick are moving up and down the wall in large schools and can be caught on green weed during the day and on yabbies at night.
Flathead are becoming scarce in the mouth of the estuary, but are more plentiful up-river. Despite the mullet schooling, no big mulloway have been taken. They are probably waiting at Crowdy Head to ambush the mullet when they go around the headland.
There is no doubt that June is a top month for bream fishing. The walls at the mouth of the river and the beaches all produce great catches of fish. The travelling bream come into the river and feed upstream along the wall to the end of the rocks, then turn around and feed their way back out to sea. It may take 8-10 days for the fish to leave the river. Generally speaking, there are several schools present at any 1 time.
The big tailor have moved on and only fish to a kilo are being caught at present. A few salmon have also turned up, but they are not big fish — 1-2kg at best. The southerly weather has destroyed the formations on the beaches and they are now flat, with very few drains and sand bars to produce white water to harbour baitfish. The southern end of Crowdy Beach has fished well for bream on mullet and worms.
Fishing has been good when conditions have allowed the boats to get out. Some small black marlin to 100kg have been boated and released by anglers trolling the tide lines in water of 23 degrees. Spotted mackerel, longtail, mac tuna and bonito have also been taking lures.
Snapper have been caught on the hard bottom and up around Mermaid Reef, but most fish have been small, with only the occasional fish of 3kg coming in. Mahimahi and small kings have been trolled and jigged out around the waverider buoy.Reads: 494