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Mullet run in full swing
  |  First Published: May 2016



The past few weeks have illustrated how difficult it is to predict what fish are going to do. The tailor turned up in schools then disappeared for a while, then came back on the bite but in reduced numbers.

The bream turned up along the river wall, and for a couple of weeks those anglers fishing the couple of hours either side of high tide slack water were scoring good bags of fish, with some weighing over 1kg. Then the bream moved back up the river and only a few stayed along the wall. The flathead did almost the same, with the fish moving back up the river and going off the bite for a while. I believe the fish went off the bite because of the southerly weather. I know southerlies can put the fish off the bite for a few days but two weeks is hard to believe.

ESTUARY

Thankfully the fish are back on the bite and good bags are coming in. Bream are biting well upriver, with bags of fish being caught up around Chinamans Point and further upstream. Flathead are being taken all the way upstream to Wingham on bait and soft plastics. The sand spit in the mouth of the river has produced catches of whiting and school mulloway to 10kg. Beach worms and yabbies have been the top baits. The luderick are biting well up around the gantry on weed and also from the wall at Manning Point.

BEACH AND ROCK

It has been a surprising time with captures of Spanish mackerel made from the wall at Crowdy Head and the end of the sea wall at the mouth of the Manning. Fish to 21kg were landed, and this is the first time in years that they have come in close to the rocks and stayed for so long.

Tailor are showing up on Crowdy Beach but they are small (around 33-38cm). Lures and bait are taking fish. At the moment there are many schools of whitebait in the gutters on Crowdy Beach, and heaps of small black whaler sharks have been landed. The occasional larger specimen is hooked but these fish don’t take long to cut the line when they make their first big run. The smaller sharks are up to 70cm while the larger ones are up to 2m long.

OFFSHORE

It has been a better month for the outside boys with a variety of species being landed. Snapper have been caught from the northern grounds up around Mermaid Reef and down south at Old Bar. Bar cod and pearl perch are biting well out wide in 170m of water. Teraglin to 3kg have come in from the northern grounds while plenty of Spanish mackerel have been caught on live bait. Bonito and slimy mackerel have proved to be the best baits.

The sea mullet start to leave the Manning on Anzac Day and continue to run well into May. This is an exciting time for anglers as the big mulloway and sharks are patrolling the river and beaches, ready to attack the schools of mullet as they make their way north to spawn. Alive bait or a fresh slab floated around the rocks or off the wall will soon be picked up by the predatory fish. Usually the fight is short because if a shark takes the bait it is cut off on the first run, and if a mulloway takes the bait then you can take your time to tire out the fish. There will also be bream and luderick to chase in the estuary if you like quieter fishing.

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