Hot summer run continues
  |  First Published: February 2017

At the present time we are experiencing a drought in the Manning above Wingham. The river is barely running, though luckily some freshwater springs have opened to give the river a bit more water. Weed is clogging up the river and it is difficult to find a spot where you can fish from the bank – but a canoe or punt will open up some good fishing water.

The bass are the best I have seen in years, with heaps of fish over 35cm being taken and released. Below the falls the river is very salty, allowing the bream, luderick, mulloway and sharks to move all the way upstream. On the beaches and offshore the north easterlies have continued to blow, sometimes day and night. These winds make outside fishing a bit uncomfortable, and beach fishing can be more uncomfortable because of the driven sand.


Flathead are well and truly on the bite now, with soft plastics, hardbodied lures, strip baits and live baits all taking fish. There are quite a lot of undersized fish being caught, as well as fish up to 60cm in length.

Good whiting are being caught on yabbies and worm baits from the spit in the mouth of the river. A few bream are taking yabbies and mullet strips, while luderick are being caught on yabbies during the day.

Kingfish have started to patrol the river wall, with a 16kg fish being taken on a popper.


The beaches have not produced many good catches this last month, with only bream and whiting being caught from Crowdy beach up to Abbeys Creek. A few salmon, occasional chopper tailor and a 16kg mulloway made up the rest of the catch. The tailor have not yet turned up, and although there are fish further south, they aren’t moving up north. Some locals are putting it down to the cold water temperatures at present.


When the winds have allowed, some great catches have been made offshore. Snapper and pearl perch have come from the northern grounds, while flathead are plentiful on the drift. Mahimahi have been taken on lures around the FAD, while fish up to 15kg have come from out wide in 80m of water, while bar cod up to 12kg have come from the even wider grounds.

February is an exciting time to fish the Manning area, this time of year always sees the big tailor turn up at Crowdy Head and Diamond Head. These fish can be anywhere from 4-9kg, and always put up a great performance around the rocks. They are best fished with lures or large garfish fished on a six hook rig. A bobby cork rig using fresh slabs of bonito or tailor or a live bait will also catch these fish. Bobby cork rigs are best used before first light or at dusk and into the night. As well as tailor, the river will have plenty of flathead up to 8kg and luderick to catch on weed during the day and live yabbies at night. It gets very hot during February, so remember to wear a hat and plenty of sun screen!
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