A week or so either side of Anzac Day the Harrington mullet leave the river in a big school and head north on their yearly migration. The timing all depends on the prevailing conditions and the amount of resistance they receive when they venture out along the sea wall.
Sharks and mulloway queue up at the mouth of the Manning River to feed on the mullet as they move out into the ocean on their spawning drive.
I have seen big schools of several thousand fish turn around and move back into the river to try to escape the harassment of the sharks and jew.
If the wind is blowing from the west then the mullet will move out to sea on the next run-out tide despite the attention of these predatory fish.
We have just had a small flood in the Manning which has moved the bream and flathead down the river so that they can find some salt water to live in.
The fish move back up the river with the salt water that comes in with the rising tide.
The sea water moves in along the bed of the river while the less dense fresh water stays on the surface. The depth of the fresh water depends on the speed of the flow of the river.
Fish can be caught on the run-in tide even though the water is a dirty brown and the surface water of the river is running out to sea,.
As I write the fish are only just coming back on the bite after the flood but by April the bream will be in full swing as they school up and prepare to move to sea.
Jewfish will be around in the estuary as they target the schools of mullet gathering in the lower reaches of the river.
At this time live bait is the best bait for a jewie, followed by a slab of fresh mullet. Use only enough weight to get the bait to slowly sink and float along on the tide; you don’t want your bait anchored to the bottom.
Prior to the flood there were some good tailor being caught from the beaches at night. Fish to 2kg were common and even larger fish were hooked and lost.
The tailor have disappeared now that the fresh, dirty water is moving along the beaches but they will be back as soon as the water clears.
Bream are biting well on the southern end of Crowdy Beach after they have been forced out of the river by the flood .
Some good snapper have been brought in from the inshore grounds over the past couple of weeks.
Fish to 6kg have been relatively uncommon but the average red is about 1.5kg.
Sand flathead have been plentiful with anglers getting their bag limit of 20 per person if they spend enough time drifting.
Some pearl perch and morwong have also been boated.
April will be an exciting time for all types of anglers. In the estuary bream and jew will be the main species while on the beaches and around the rocks tailor, jew and bream will be prolific.
Outside anglers will be able to concentrate on snapper and jew on live baits. There should be no excuses for not getting a bag of fish.Reads: 1160