It’s always an exciting time at Harrington when the mullet run. This usually starts around ANZAC day when the winds blow from the west or southwest.
The mullet school up along the wall, in the backwater or a bit further upstream. When the high water slack starts to ebb then the mullet head to sea in a hurry. Waiting at the mouth of the river at the end of the sea wall are the predatory fish like mulloway, sharks, big tailor and various kinds of mackerel.
These predatory fish gather at all the formations that may slow down the schools. The end of the sea wall, Crowdy Head and both sides of Diamond Head are all ambush points. If the attackers are numerous enough, they may delay the mullet for two or three days until the desire to run overcomes all fear and the schooling fish just pour around the headland.
Of course, the schools must be large to do this. Small schools just get cut to pieces and dispersed in small groups of a few fish. These small groups will meet up and join with a larger school eventually.
Fishing in the estuary is mostly confined to mulloway fishing. Crowds of anglers gather along the wall jagging mullet for live bait. I thought this practice was illegal, but nothing seems to be done to stop this practice. A few warnings are issued, but the same people are back the next day doing the same thing.
Flathead, bream, luderick and whiting are being caught in the estuary. The bream are gathered along the wall and are getting ready to run to the north to spawn. The whiting are being caught from the spit in the mouth of the river on yabbies as are the luderick at night. Flathead are taking mullet strips and soft plastics in most parts of the river.
There are plenty of tailor to be taken from the beaches. Pilchards, garfish, metal lures and soft plastic lures are all catching fish. Most of the tailor are under 40cm but larger specimens have been taken from the northern end of Crowdy Beach. Travelling bream and whiting are biting best on the southern end of Crowdy Beach. Worms, pipis and yabbies will all fish well.
There have been no notable catches made in the last few weeks, but most anglers seem to be able to catch a feed when they go out. Snapper and trag have been boated on the northern grounds while spotted mackerel have been picked up on the troll. Mahimahi are taking live baits around the FAD while flathead are still being taken on the drift.
It’s an exciting time to fish at Harrington. As well as concentrating on the big mulloway there are plenty of tailor to be caught. Those who fish the couple of hours of the dropping tide at night have the chance of picking up a big tailor of 5-6kg. These fish seem to prefer the time after high tide when most anglers have departed with their noise and lights.
Fresh bonito slabs or a fresh tailor slab are the best baits. Of course, when fishing with these baits there is always the chance of picking up a mulloway of decent size. The seas are normally fairly small at this time of the year, so it’s a good time to fish the beaches.Reads: 1223