IT HAS been a long time but the rains are finally here and enough to put a run in the Manning.
Some localities above Wingham have had more than 100mm a night and predictions are for more days of beautiful rain. A fresh in the Manning will do marvellous things for fishing in the next few months.
The prawns should be stirred up and sent on their way out to sea while the bream and flathead will be flushed down the river to the lower parts of the estuary. It would also stir the mullet up and start them schooling up for their northerly migration in April and May.
Before the rains, catches were not great. It was still possible to catch a few flathead and a bream or two but no big bags of either were being made. The whiting were the best bet for a feed.
Now that we have had sufficient rain to put a fresh in the river, the lower part of the Manning should be firing again with bream, whiting, flathead and luderick back on the bite. There are always a few big jew hovering around the mouth of the river when a bit of dirty water comes down and they will take live baits or lures spun along the edge of the dirty water.
The mullet will be schooling up in coming weeks, ready to depart on their way north towards the end of April. When the mullet are schooled up right at the mouth of the river, it is prime time for a big jew. These fish come into the river and harass the schools of fish moving up and down the walls and when they go to sea they follow them up the coast. The only time the jew are likely to stay around the mouth of the river is when there are still schools of mullet to leave the river.
Just prior to the rains some better quality tailor were being caught from Crowdy Beach. Some of these fish were 1.3kg and better and were a big improvement on the 33cm choppers that were around in plague proportions. Some of the best fish were taken on lures rather than bait.
It is to be hoped that when the seas abate that the big tailor have stayed around because they are great sport on bait and lure. While the tailor are here there is always the chance of picking up a big mulloway on a whole, live chopper. Of course, in April, the chances of picking up a big fish are much better with the mullet moving along the beaches and schooling up near the headlands.
The water has only just warmed up with the warm, blue currents coming in on the coast from the north. It will not take long before the big surface fish arrive for their brief stay. A marlin of 80kg was taken about18km off Crowdy Head recently. The slimy mackerel and yellowtail are packed around the close reefs and bommies and are easy to take on bait or lures. There is nothing better than a live slimy to fish down a berley trail. The big reds love them.
April is the time to break out the big gear and go hunting jew. Live baits, lures and fresh slabs of mullet and tailor will all take fish. If you can find the mullet schooled up on the southern side of a headland near dark, then they will almost certainly stay there until the next day.
Some unforgettable fishing can be had by casting out whole mullet or slabs near the school. Jew, sharks and big tailor can be taken when these conditions prevail.Reads: 561