The freshwater part of the Manning, has been quite low and hasn’t received a great deal of run over the last few weeks. Consequently, the green slimy weed has built up and made fishing fairly difficult. A week or so ago the springs opened up and put a foot of run in the river and we had a couple of good storms – one in the Gloucester area and one above Mount George. This put a 7ft rise in the river and brought down a heap of dirty water. The fresh cleaned out the weed from the higher parts of the river but did not clear the lower parts above Wingham. There is now much more weed in the river just above Wingham. Local anglers are finding it difficult to catch fish under these conditions.
The big female flathead are populating the waters around the mouth of the river and can gather in groups of over 20 fish before they spawn. At this time it is easy to catch these big fish with live bait on a bobby cork rig. Heavy gear is not necessary. A 5kg line and a 4/0 - 6/0 hook will do the trick. It is very important to play the fish very gently and not to get its head out of the water. This way the fish can be netted and released without damage. Unfortunately, we have a few anglers who proceed to keep all the fish they catch. Some even get one in the morning and then go back and get another in the evening. This practice is detrimental and is certainly not appreciated by the majority of the anglers who do the right thing.
As well as the flathead, there are some good whiting feeding on the sand flats in the mouth of the river and some bream feeding along the river wall. School mulloway have been on the bite around the gantry on live bait but they have only reached 5kg in weight.
The beaches have been very quiet for weeks. The chopper tailor have moved for the time being and there are only a few salmon moving up our beaches. The southern end of Crowdy Beach has fished the best with some catches of bream to 800g. Beach worms, mullet strips and pipis are the best baits. When conditions have allowed, the rocks at Crowdy Head have produced small pigs to a 1.5kg on cunjevoi.
Sea conditions have not been good apart from a couple of days of calm when it was great to be out at sea. The northern grounds have fished best for small to medium-sized snapper with the occasional catch of trag thrown in. Those drifting close in have scored bags of big flathead when the seas are down. Mahimahi to 7kg have been caught in 80m of water off Crowdy Head.
Flathead are the main species to tackle in January. Live baiting is the best plan of attack. There is always the possibility of a big bream taking the bait or a mulloway scoffing up the offerings. There are plenty of herring to be caught on a live bait rig from the wall near to where you will use them. Outside fishing is good in January, especially in the mornings before the north easterlies turn up about lunchtime.Reads: 369