IN A rarity over the past 50 years, there was no run of mullet around Anzac Day this year.
Quite a lot of the Manning River mullet went out to sea when the freshes came down in March and there does not seem to be a great lot of fish left in the system to run when the westerly winds blow. There are occasional small schools of a few hundred fish moving along the beaches every day but there are no big masses of fish.
There are plenty of mullet further south to run but they have not made the dash for the ocean yet so it will be some time before they get up to our neck of the woods.
The fishing lately has been great with school jew of around 6kg providing great sport on live herring baits. The herring can be fished under a bobby cork or as a floating bait with only a very small 0 ball sinker to take them down.
The last of the run-in tide and the first of the run back out is the best to fish. Some anglers have been getting a few fish on the bottom of the tide as well.
Good flathead to a couple of kilos have been caught from the bank above Cattai Creek on whitebait and mullet strips. A few bream to 900g and some nice whiting have been caught from the wall at night.
During daylight hours, leatherjackets have been on the bite around The Gantry and further up the wall. A small float with a tiny piece of prawn on about a No 10 long-shanked hook is the way to catch a bag of these very fine-eating fish.
Just as the estuary has been fishing well for school jew, so have the beaches. Fish to 11kg have been caught on worm baits from Harrington and Crowdy beaches. The high tide at night has proved to be the best time to spend a couple of hours fishing exclusively for mulloway.
The beach near the sea wall at the mouth of the Manning, the Blue Hut area of Crowdy Beach and Kylie’s Beach, at the northern end of Crowdy Beach, have been the most productive spots.
The outside fishermen have had a fairly lean time for the past couple of weeks. There are still plenty of flathead for the bottom-bouncers to target and the usual range of species that is caught near the bottom but surface fish and decent-sized snapper have been fairly scarce.
Now the school jew are back on the beaches, the boat boys should be able to pick up a few fish around the close -in bommies on live yellowtail or slimy mackerel.
With the mullet run likely to be late this year, June should be the time to get stuck into the travelling bream, which usually follow the mullet. Luderick normally come along with the bream so it should be a great Winter for fishing in the lower reaches of the Manning.
FROM LAST MONTH
Daniel Hughes caught this 13.5kg kingfish off Harrington.Reads: 1526