We have had nothing but rain. The drought has broken. The Manning had a rise of 25ft above Wingham and is currently about 4ft above normal. All the weed and slime that was clogging up the river has been swept away and the river is clean again. While a rise of 25ft is not a flood, it could be classed as a big fresh.
All the farmers are happy again and the dams are full to the brim. The fresh has moved the fish down the river and concentrated the bream in the lower part of the estuary. Flathead have also been flushed out of the upper parts of the Manning. The next couple of months will be excellent for fishing as a result of the fresh coinciding with the movement of the mullet down the river.
The rock walls at the mouth of the Manning are the places to fish for bream this month. Both Harrington and Manning Point walls are holding good schools of bream. The mullet usually start their run on ANZAC Day and continue to move out of the river for three weeks or so. The bream tend to go with the last of the mullet.
There are also schools of mullet coming up the coast from the rivers to the south as well as bream and luderick. Indeed, May is definitely the time to be an angler at Harrington. The flathead have moved down the river and are on the bite in the lower reaches of the Manning. When the river starts to clear, mulloway and sharks will be moving up river in search of a feed of mullet. It’s not unusual when fishing for bream from the walls with mullet strips to get a sizzling run and a bust-off from a shark or a big mulloway.
Our beaches have been flattened by the heavy southerly seas and will take some time to form up properly and provide some good features for tailor and bream to hide in. Crowdy Beach is particularly dangerous because the sand above the high tide mark is very soft and a trap for new users. Quite a lot of visitors don’t let their tyres down enough and travel too fast on the soft sand. The first soft patch they hit sees them bogged down to the axles.
Tailor and salmon are back on the beaches with the best fish being on the northern end of Crowdy Beach. Bream and whiting have been caught from the southern end of Crowdy as well. Word has filtered in of a 27kg mulloway being landed from the rocks at Crowdy Head. Mulloway usually turn up about this time of the year at Crowdy to wait and ambush the mullet when they run.
The heavy seas, rain and wind have made outside fishing a bit difficult, but despite all the problems those who have been able to get out have been scoring plenty of pan-sized snapper and the occasional fish to 5kg from both the north and south grounds. Flathead are still to be caught by drifting over the close-in sandy bottoms. There is not much bait around at present because of the dirty water out at sea. When the water clears, the bait schools will come back in close to the shore.
There is no doubt May is a great time to be a fisher at Harrington. Bream and mulloway can be caught from the rock walls on both sides of the Manning, and tailor can be bait fished or spun on lures from the beaches and rocks. The daytime temperatures are not high so a good day’s fishing can be had by all keen anglers.Reads: 45