Toll on big flathead
  |  First Published: February 2010

The big flathead have arrived in numbers and it is a poor day’s fishing if two or three large female fish are not landed.

Only a few of these fish are being returned to the water but it is better than none.

The upper parts of the Manning have been dirty from rain of a few weeks ago and do not seem to be clearing very quickly.

The Dawson River above Cundletown is particularly dirty and is not showing much evidence of clearing at all. I believe we can blame the siltation of the river for the slow clearing of the dirty water.

Naturally the flathead are the main species to be targeted in the lower parts of the river and are being taken by many different methods.

Live bait fished under a bobby cork or just floated along the bottom is the most popular method and yields good results.

Soft plastics are taking their share of fish and baits of prawns, mullet and yabbies are scoring the majority of smaller fish.

Some nice bream have been caught at night from the Manning Point spur wall. One fish went 1.2kg gilled and gutted.

The sand flats above where the spur wall used to be have produced excellent catches of whiting on fresh yabbies at night.

The corner of the wall near the cleaning table has also fished well for whiting.

School jew have been absent for a couple of weeks but they should turn up as the full moon approaches.


The onshore winds have built up the beaches so they have been safe to drive on but care must still be taken at high tide because there are some soft patches of sand above the high tide mark.

Tailor are starting to come back on the bite. Choppers to 35cm have been taking bait and lures and are best fished in the early morning and late afternoon.

Salmon have disappeared for the moment but there are plenty of fish just north of Newcastle.

Bream and whiting catches have been small. Occasional anglers have had success particularly on the southern end of Crowdy Beach.


Outside results have been great with most boats scoring a feed of some kind.

Snapper have been plentiful around Mermaid Reef with a lot of fish around 3kg and the best fish 7kg to 10kg.

Pearl perch to 3kg have been caught in 80 m of water due east of Crowdy Head.

Eastern blue spot flathead are there for the taking on the drift and a bag limit of 20 is easy to score.

Kings and mahi mahi have been caught around the wave rider off Crowdy Head and bonito have been taken by trolling lures. Slimy mackerel are numerous around the close reefs.

March offers some of the best fishing of the year in this area. The temperature is good and apart from the afternoon north-easterlies, the seas are generally fairly small.

The river fishes well for flathead, bream and luderick with the occasional school jew thrown in for good measure.

The big tailor appear around Diamond Head and can be caught on lures and garfish spun through the whitewater around the rocks at the front of the headland.

Outside anglers can take their pick of what fish they would like to target.

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