It’s flathead time
  |  First Published: November 2016

The Manning has not experienced any exceptional weather in the past few weeks. What rain we have received has been mainly on the coast and not much at all up in the freshwater. Consequently, there’s very little run in for the fresh water part of the Manning. The saltwater part of the Manning is very clear and blue.

The spit at the mouth of the river is pushing further south and providing a great area for beach fishing and also plenty of space to fish back into the river towards the retaining wall that runs upstream. The beaches have formed up well and they are safe to drive on, particularly on low tide.


The river has provided some very good fishing over the past month. Luderick have been on the bite on green weed from the wall at Harrington, the spur wall at Manning point and Chinamans Point. Some bags of fish have had two or three fish of a kilo or more. Bream are still being taken from the wall on bait but upstream, in the Lansdowne, bags of fish have been caught on soft plastics. Most of these fish have been released.

Flathead have started to appear in the backwater at Harrington and Chinamans Point. Most fish are only just legal, but upstream in the Lansdowne, at Croki and up around Cundletown the fish are larger. Most are 50cm in length. While there have been no signs of mulloway in the mouth of the river, nice fish to 10kg have been caught at Chinamans Point and in the Lansdowne.


Chopper tailor and salmon are taking pilchard baits and metal lures on the beaches. The southern end of Crowdy Beach still has a few bream feeding on pipis and beachworms. Some reports have come in about good-sized mulloway being caught near Abbeys Creek at night on slabs and squid baits. Drummer are being caught from the rocks at Crowdy Head and Diamond Head on cunjy, prawns and bread. A good berley trail is necessary to score a good catch.


The outside fishing has been good with few days when the boats couldn’t go to sea. The northern grounds up around Mermaid Reef have fished well for snapper up to a couple of kilos – one fish of 8.5kg was brought in a couple of days ago. Snapper and trag have been taken from the same places. Flathead are still being caught on the drift, and bar cod have been caught in the deep water out wide. There are no surface fish around at present – we’ll have to wait for the schools of baitfish to appear to bring the pelagics on.

November is a great time to fish the Manning area. The flathead are on the bite in the river and tailor can be baitfished or spun with lures, morning and evening from the beaches and headlands. The northeasterly winds don’t blow hard until after midday so there is plenty of time to chase snapper around the close in reefs. There are also bream and luderick to catch from the river wall at Harrington.


The Gary Chapman Teams Championships 2016 winning team.


Mick Bowden with a nice barracuda.


Sydney Metro's Rob Penman with a cracker snapper.


The Newcastle boys with some great cod.


Newcastle’s Shannon Denning with some beaut snapper.

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