Easy Estuary Pickings
  |  First Published: June 2010

The weather conditions have been quite harsh for the past few weeks with southerly winds, big seas and rain. However, despite it all, there have been some notable catches made in the mid north coast area.

The mullet have continued to run north and some of them have managed to escape the nets and continue on their way up the coast. Some schools of fish had already spawned before they arrived at the mouth of the Manning and this is good news for the next generation of mullet.

Sharks and jew are still waiting around the mouth of the Manning and around Crowdy Head. They will stay until the mullet have finished running.

Luderick will be the next species to move and the jew will keep a close watch on them as they make their way around the headland.

Bream are also hunted by predatory fish like jewfish and sharks. Unfortunately the sharks outnumber the jew and most pick-ups are sharks not jew. I have suffered a couple of monumental bust ups in the last couple of weeks – I had a 93.5lb torque broken on a straight pull (not bitten off). Big sharks indeed!


Even though the weather has been bad the estuary has provided some good fishing for the keen angler.

Good bags of bream have been taken at night on mullet strips, mullet gut, yabbies and prawns. Some of the fish have weighed over a kilo, which are good fish in this part of the coast.

The flathead have moved up river and plenty of them are being caught between Cundletown and Taree on soft plastics. Only the occasional fish has been picked up in the lower part of the estuary.

There are plenty of schools of luderick moving along the rock walls at the mouth of the river but they are hard to catch. School jew to 3kg have been taken on soft plastics from the sea wall and some smaller fish have been caught on bait by the bream anglers.


Some chopper-sized tailor have shown up near the end of the sea wall and on the southern end of Harrington Beach. They have been falling to metal lures spun from the wall or the beach close to the wall.

On Crowdy Beach larger fish have been taken but only when the sea conditions have allowed. A nice jew of 25kg fell to a metal lure spun from the end of the sea wall. Some daytime anglers fishing the tide around low water have managed to catch a few bream from the southern end.


When conditions allowed, some boats have been scoring decent snapper from around the shoals. The best fish weighed was 8kg, which is pretty good for this time of the year.

Flathead are still being taken on the wider drifts and bonito can be caught on trolled lures. The dreaded leatherjackets have not shown up yet but no doubt they will be here later on.

July is the top month for bream in the Manning area. The beaches and the river both give good catches of fish. Night time is the best to grab a bag limit of bream but fish can still be caught during daylight hours.

In the river, yabbies, mullet strips, mullet gut and black crabs are the best baits but nearly any bait will take some fish. On the beaches it is the last month for the big tailor as they are all gone by the end of July.

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