It has to get better!
  |  First Published: October 2003

The long sufferings of Winter are over and the fishing has to get better. Reports I received over the last little while have had sparks of encouragement but mostly the catches have been sparse. There have been good pockets of fish around the area but not the normal Winter distribution throughout the lake and coastal fringe. If you want a decent session you’ll have to work at it.

Bream have made their way back into the tributary systems for their Summer holidays where they gorge on butter prawns, young shellfish and masses of baitfish. A recent weekend trip up the Wallamba River produced some interesting results. Five well seasoned bream anglers fished for 10 hours on the first day for three fish. The following day, after cycling through different coloured plastics, we found a colour that worked and ended up with 20 bream to a kilo in four hours. Any soft plastic lure in pumpkinseed (brown) was worth a throw, and any other colour was ignored. So if you ever think you’re wasting your time you may just be wasting effort throwing a colour that doesn’t work on the day. Change colours as often as you have to, to get results. Most of the fish we caught were above Shallimar and the ski area, as far up as Nabiac.

Lake fishing

Lake fishing is improving, with blackfish still worth targeting. The oyster lease washboards near the Forster-Tuncurry bridge, in the channel nicknamed ‘Pitt Street’, are popular. This area also has some big bream along the deep edges of the leases and, providing the tide isn’t pushing too hard, is easily fished with bait or lures.

Legal sized flathead have started showing up in the lower reaches of the lake and channels, along with the odd fish in the kilo-plus range. At this time of year I have found the chartreuse Twister double tails on a 1/4oz jighead are a perfect enticement for the flatties. As the water warms up and the females aggregate for spawning, deep-bodied minnows and soft plastic shads come into their own.

The seawalls have been fishing OK, with bait soakers picking up bream, the odd reasonable tailor and a few leatherjackets. A while back spinning was producing a few smallish tailor but the wall hasn’t fired for a while now.


The numbers of pigs and decent pig sessions this year have been limited. There have been plenty of good pigs caught but they have lacked the consistency I had hoped for. The tailor spinning has tapered off too, with little reward for effort.

The saviours off the rocks have been the blackfish. Some good numbers have been coming from Burgess and Bluey’s beach as well as Janey’s Corner. Yabbies and weed floated around the channels and gutters will do the trick.


The bass fishing just seems to get better and better. I have managed to sneak off on a regular weekly night session up on the Manning or Wallamba. In the first four trips we caught and released four bass over 50cm, the biggest being 57cm, fork length. It just goes to show that the rivers can support good bass populations when the water quality is half decent. I can’t wait until Summer to do it without the thermal undies and layers of clothes!

Lastly, don't forget the Manning River Bass Catch. It’s being held on the weekend of October 25-26, and for more information you can ring Lincoln Sky on (02) 6553 5355 or Phil Basile on (02) 6553 9650.

1) What a difference a colour change makes! The smiles weren’t on dials the day before.

2) Blackfish are still around with a lot of smaller fish getting about the leases.

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