Good times ahead
  |  First Published: October 2016

The weather over the past few weeks has been magnificent for this time of year. Most days have been sunny and warm, and the winds have not blown strongly. Consequently, fishing in the river has been great. The last fresh left a lot of dirty water upriver around Taree and down the South Passage. At Harrington, the water was only slightly discoloured on the low tides.

The sand spit at the mouth of the Manning has built up and is now further south than ever. This has opened up a lot of beach to fish on the southern side of the sea wall. The beaches are still badly eroded. When we get the steady northeast winds in late spring and early summer, sand will be moved back onto the beaches.


Everything is on the bite in the river. Bream are still being caught from the wall at Harrington and further upstream on the oyster beds. Mullet strips and mullet gut have been the most successful baits, but yabbies and prawns have also taken fish.

Luderick are being caught on green weed from the wall, the wharves at Manning Point and further upriver near Chinamans Point. Flathead have started to move back down the river. Good fish have been caught at Chinamans Point and in the backwater at Harrington. Small school mulloway to 4kgs have been landed at Manning Point on soft vibes.


Salmon and tailor are biting well on Crowdy Beach on pilchard baits. The salmon aren’t large, with the best fish going 2kg. The best tailor are about a kilo in weight. Most of the bait schools are staying offshore and it’s only occasionally they come right in to the beach.

The sand spit at the mouth of the Manning has produced some small catches of whiting on worms and yabbies. Crowdy Head is starting to produce some decent catches of pigs. Nice calm weather would have helped, as anglers could fish spots where they would not be in danger of being washed in. Most of the fish caught are around 1.5kg.


Snapper are biting really well with fish to 6kg being landed. The northern grounds up around Mermaid Reef and the southern grounds at Old Bar are producing bags of fish. Flathead are also being caught on the drift over the sand spots. Out wider in 60m of water, leatherjackets are plentiful. There are plenty of small mahimahi to be taken around the Wave Rider.

October is the month when most of the really big mulloway are caught. A high tide around eight o’clock on a full moon night is the best time to have a crack. Live bait, fresh slabs or big squid are the best baits. If you can find some deep water on the southern side of a headland, it’s worth a try.

Christmas choppers will be starting to arrive. These make great live bait or fresh slab bait. In the river, flathead will be coming down to the entrance, but they’ll only be small, in the 40-50cm range. Luderick and bream will still be poking around the rock wall at the mouth of the river, so there will be plenty to keep the keen angler going.

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