We have experienced a rather dry period for the past few weeks. The Manning has slowed to a trickle and there is a great deal of slimy weed clogging up the pools, making lure fishing difficult. However, the rain started to fall last month, it looks like it will continue.
Downstream, the water is blue in colour and very salty. The sand spit in the mouth of the river has built up against the south side of the sea wall and it is possible to drive onto the spit and fish the southern end and side of it. This saves anglers a big walk to reach the mouth of the river.
The Manning has fished better than the beaches, rocks and outside areas over the past month. Flathead have been the most prolific species, caught from all parts of the river. There are reports of double figure catches of fish just under legal size, as well as many fish of 50-60cm in length.
Catches are made from the wall, Chinamans Point, Manning Point, the mouth of the Lansdowne River and up around the buoy near Croki. The south arm of the Manning near Old Bar has also fished well.
The sand spit in the mouth of the river and the backwater behind the river wall have produced big whiting on poppers from the shallow water.
Chinamans Point has produced some mulloway to 15kg on live baits and soft plastics, while the river wall has delivered smaller fish to 5kg on soft plastics.
Bream have been patchy with occasional good catch coming in every few days. The best fish are up to 1kg in weight but the majority of fish are in the 450-700g range.
The rocks have yielded the best tailor on lure, and fish up to and over 1.5kg are common. The tailor coming from the beaches are chopper size models in the 33-38cm range, mostly caught on bait.
Some small salmon have shown up with the tailor and mostly take bait. Bream are scarce on the beaches and best catches have been made at night.
Crowdy Beach fished well for mulloway to 6kg on the moon rising to full. Beach worms are the bait to use.
The northern grounds have been the most productive with snapper to 5kg and trag to 3kg making up most of the catch.
Mahimahi to 9kg have been taken on lures out around the wave rider and the FAD. Pelagic action has generally been a bit slow, but when the baitfish show up, so will the bonito and mackerel.
In February most days will be stinking hot and the northeasters start to blow at lunchtime so it is best to go out early in the morning and come in by midday.
If you fish in the evening, go out when the wind drops and fish all night. The big tailor turn up around the second week in February, but you must fish the high tide at night and at least two hours after slack water to have a hope of success.
There will be heaps of flathead in the lower parts of the river and they can be caught either boat or land-based with bait, lures or live bait on a bobby cork rig.Reads: 633