It has been a strange year for fishing on the Mid North Coast as most species seem to be about two months behind their normal schedule.
There are bream in the river that have not spawned and there are others that have let go a couple of months ago. Tailor of around 1.5kg are still biting well and bags of up to 15 fish can be caught.
Usually the larger tailor have departed north by the end of July. Judging by reports from further south there will be good tailor on our beaches for at least another month.
The drummer at Seal Rocks spawned a couple of weeks late while the pigs at Crowdy Head could be another three weeks before they spawn. I reckon that fish movement is at least a month later in the year than when I started serious fishing in the 1950s.
Despite some adverse conditions the estuary at Harrington has fished really well for the past month. Bream are plentiful along the breakwalls with the best fish going a kilo or better. Mullet strips, yabbies, chicken gut and mullet gut are the best baits.
The luderick have moved into the river and daylight anglers have been catching good bags of fish at the gantry and also along the sea wall on green weed and cabbage.
Flathead are showing up in the lower parts of the estuary and, judging by the number of marks left near the high tide line, this season should be a beauty for flathead.
It has been a very good season for tailor. Consistent catches of fish from 1.5kg to 2kg show just how good it has been. There have been a couple of fish around 4kg caught from the beach recently. It is quite possible to catch fish of this size and bigger from the rocks but they usually stay clear of the beach.
Bream have been scarce on the beaches with a bag of three or four fish considered pretty good. Small drummer are taking cunje and abalone gut around Crowdy Head while blue groper can be taken on red crabs.
Leatherjackets are in plague proportions from north of Diamond Head to south of Old Bar. Some anglers welcome these fish as they quite tasty to eat while others tear their hair out and pull the anchor to get away from these line-nipping pests.
Kingfish to 15kg have been caught wide of Diamond Head on jigs and live bait. Some pearl perch to 3kg have been caught from the northern grounds while there are plenty of pan-sized snapper off Old Bar.
October usually sees the surface fish turn up in good numbers with bonito, striped tuna and mackerel tuna the most numerous. These fish are mostly taken on trolled lures but occasionally you may get them on the bite while anchored up and fishing midwater baits.
Flathead will be on the bite in the Manning but they will be fish to 1.5kg. The big breeders usually arrive at the mouth of the river by the second week in December.
This season should be an excellent one for flathead if the numbers of small fish of 30cm to 35cm that were around last season are any indication.
Luderick will be thick along the breakwalls and bream will be spread throughout the estuary.Reads: 1053