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Thread: Fly Fishing for Spotted Grunter

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  1. Default Fly Fishing for Spotted Grunter

    This topic has been discussed in great depth on Fly Talk since we started the website in 2005. I thought it would be good to create a new thread in which we can share our experiences and discuss it further. To give input and hopefully learn to understand the species so we can catch grunter more consistently on fly.

    Since grunter are so prolific along the biggest part of the SA coastline, it is reasonably accessible to most of SA fly rodders and a great sport fish. In the Western Cape De Mond is the first estuary where you can target grunter, and further east all estuaries that opens to the sea regularly should have grunter. The feeding habits seem to differ between the different areas, with grunter in Transkei and KZN being taken quite often on lures, pilchard bait and even spoons.

    I have had some of my best grunter fishing during February on the Brenton surf using fresh white mussel, fishing that can be compared to the shad run in KZN. These days I still do lots of bait fishing for grunter, mainly in Stilbay. Fishing a circle hook with a tungsten bead/s sliding all the way to the hook when a stronger current warrants this and without whenever I can.

    I haven't targeted grunter on fly with any success till this past weekend. Quite often I believe I came close, but never had a positive take which I believe I had any understanding of. As mentioned, guys like MC, Jannie Visser, August Lohann, Peter Coetzee and Henkie Altena did put in a lot of effort, thinking about what they do, designing fly patterns and also catching this elusive fish.

    However, I believe, the code hasn't been cracked yet, but after thinking about my experiences, talking to guys who do catch grunter, we are closer and I will share what I think what I have been missing.

    When more responsible fly fishers have more success, it will benefit our estuaries, the future of the species and the growth of fly fishing.

    Time to put the boys to bed. Will try and post again later tonight/tomorrow. So long, please share your experiences and give input.


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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Default

    There are a couple of smaller rivers along the Garden Route that produce grunter, between 3 and 7kg as regular clock work.
    You have to know what tides work for each river, etc.
    but those that know, don't talk.
    Korrie Broos

    Don't go knocking on Death's door, ring the bell and run like hell. He hates it. (anon)
    Nymphing, adds depth to your fly fishing.
    Nymphing, is fly fishing in another dimension

  3. Default

    That's correct Korrie, the worthwhile ones from De Mond are Breede, Duivenhoks, Stilbaai, Gouritz, Klein and Grootbrak, Hartenbos (not sure/often blind), Maalgate, Wilderness(Touws), Swartvlei, Goukamma, Knysna, Noetzie (mostly blind), Natures Valley (mostly blind), and then moving into the Eastern Cape estuaries. Might have missed one?


    Tel +27 21 855 2646 Web - www.winelandsflyfishing.co.za
    E-mail info@winelandsflyfishing.co.za

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  4. Default

    I don't expect many of the more experienced guys will post here, for reasons I can understand. I just hope, more guys will have more success with grunter. I admire grunter in the same league as permit, grunter are probably more difficult

    I will share a few of my own observations. These days I often fish with goby's as bait and have had good success, not only catching grunter, but also cob and also a few weeks back some sort of rockcod/potato bass (not a yellowbelly) in the Stilbay estuary at night. Some years back I was observing tailing grunter at De Mond, the one fish, less than 3 meters from me blew out a mud goby, this little fish was totally stunned and flapped along on the surface. A good client of mine took 14 grunter on a lure at Breed recently, looked like a Rapala skitterwalk.

    See here



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  5. Default

    And also here for the action of a Pole Dancer

    Last edited by Winelands Fly Fishing; 24-03-15 at 08:39 PM.


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  6. Default

    What I believe, the core of the grunter puzzle, is that tailing fish (at a certain time of the tide) are not feeding fish, these fish are dislodging fish. Often grunter will feed as a "team", with some fish dislodging and the others feeding. A tailing fish kicks up a commotion and after tailing will head for deeper water. This is understandable, kicking up a commotion in shallower water water draws the attention of potential predators (fish eagles/sharks) and the fish needs to leave the immediate vicinity. The tailing behaviour happens more at a certain time of the tide. Often a grunter will tail by itself and then return some minutes later to feed.

    Depending on the bottom substance, sand vs mud, the tailing will also differ. Trust me, it is much easier blowing/sucking out a mud prawn compared to a sand prawn. Also, sand banks offer different food sources - sand prawn, sand gobies, pencil bait, mussels, sole, blood worm. Mud banks offer, mud prawn, skiet kapper/snapper prawn (lives in symbioses with the gobies), tape worm, crabs, mud gobies and glass/grass shrimps.


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  7. Default

    A bait/fly fishing client of mine almost exclusively fishes crabs for grunter, the mud crabs living at the top of mud banks, in between the grass. Again he fishes these baits when the tide reaches a full state. Not in the river channel. I believe, grunter adapts to the state of the tide and what is available at that certain stage, looking either up or down to feed. Also feeding in the vertical column often, depending if the food are drifting or sitting. When in shallower water many organisms float and that is where the fish expects the food to be.


    Tel +27 21 855 2646 Web - www.winelandsflyfishing.co.za
    E-mail info@winelandsflyfishing.co.za

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winelands Fly Fishing View Post

    I have had some of my best grunter fishing during February on the Brenton surf using fresh white mussel, fishing that can be compared to the shad run in KZN. These days I still do lots of bait fishing for grunter, mainly in Stilbay. Fishing a circle hook with a tungsten bead/s sliding all the way to the hook when a stronger current warrants this and without whenever I can.
    I have also had great success fishing the same way with Gobies in Stillbay, it has worked so well for me that its now my good to method. My favourite spot in front of Stables seems to have weeded up, were have you been getting most of your Grunter?
    The closer one gets to realizing his destiny, the more that destiny becomes his true reason for being! Paulo Coelho

  9. Default

    Hi Matt,

    Mainly from the public slip way to the Paling gat stream.

    Also the mud bank across from the public slip. When the river is clear, I mainly fish at night/low light, wading.


    Tel +27 21 855 2646 Web - www.winelandsflyfishing.co.za
    E-mail info@winelandsflyfishing.co.za

    Shop - Trips - Tuition - Custom Flies

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    CApe Town
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    Default

    Hi guys,

    This is a dumb question, but I dont have too much experience fishing in Salt(aside from chucking plugs for leeries - also ma limited success), nothing when it comes to grunter, but does anyone have any pictures of how it looks when a Grunter is tailing or blowing up sand/mud etc.

    I have watched a video of Henkie Altena on Youtube, but to me for all intents and purposes he might has well have been blind casting.

    I never know the telltale signs to look for in Salt water, I have walked tha banks of the breede a few times and have seen the holes in the prawn banks that these grunter can blow, just never able to spot anything when the tides start to shift, I am sure experience does play a role in these things, but what are the signs you guys look for when sight fishing to Salt water fish.
    "I wasn't born a fisherman, but I will damn well die a fisherman" - Anon.

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