Predators shadow the mullet
  |  First Published: April 2009

The mullet are well and truly on their way up the coast, with some smaller schools yet to leave the river and some large schools of fish yet to reach the mouth of the Manning from rivers further south.

The sharks and jew attach themselves to a big mullet schools and will follow them up the coast for weeks or more.

Occasionally a school gets bailed up at Diamond Head and may take three days to make the rush around the headland. It is times like this, when the jew and sharks have the fish cornered, that an angler can catch a few big fish.

Live mullet or slabs of fresh mullet will make the best bait.

You need a good supply of hooks because the sharks may take three or four baits before a jew picks up a bait.


The Manning River has cleared up in its lower parts after the flood but the upstream areas are still dirty but not fresh.

The fish have moved back up the river and good catches of bream are being made around Jones Island and up towards Taree.

Local anglers are catching good bags of river bream along the retaining walls at Harrington on strips of mullet.

Some flathead to 90cm have also been taken on live bait fished on bobby cork rigs. School jew to 9kg have been caught on live herrings and soft plastics.


The beaches are starting to build up again after the recent heavy seas.

Quite a lot of logs and branches were deposited on the beaches by the flood and it will take some time before they are pushed to the backs of the beaches by the high tides.

Bream and whiting are on the bite in the deeper gutters and shallow holes. Mullet strips and worms are the best baits for bream, while worms and pipis take whiting.

The tailor have been slow to move back into the gutters but occasional bags of fish have been caught.

The rocks should yield some big groper, as it has been quite a while since it has been safe to fish the rocks.

Tailor are more likely to show up around the rocks before they move back on to the beach.


Snapper to 5kg have been taken from the close inshore bommies on live bait and soft plastics. Most of the captures have come from mid water and above on the plastics.

Pearl perch to 3kg have been caught from the northern grounds.

Leatherjackets have shown up again but let’s hope that they are few in number for a while.

Slimy mackerel are plentiful around the close reefs and can be caught on bait and jigs.

May is a top fishing period for the Manning, whether you are fishing the river or the beaches. Bream and tailor are the main species to chase with a throw at dawn and dusk for a big jew.

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