Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A short history of Grunter on fly in South Africa (from a published literature point of view)

As a young fly fisherman obsessed with catching grunter on fly I looked everywhere for literature.  Almost everything I found was in hardcover books basically just saying that catching them on fly is "impossible" and they are only ever caught by mistake as bycatch by guys targeting other species.

Two publications changed my mind.  The Colt Fly Fishing Handbook and the November 1999 issue of the Complete Fly Fisherman.

The Colt Fly Fishing Handbook was released showing MC Coetzer, August Lohann and Mike Dohlhoff successfully catching grunter on fly.  This blew my mind, but unfortunately the inspiration  and new found determination didnt help me catch any fish.  Through it I did manage to meet an inspiration of an angler: Niel Hockley.  A man that knew the Knysna lagoon backwards and caught some of the biggest Skipjack/Ladyfish to be taken in the Western Cape.  Many over 1m in length.  His record in the lagoon was just over 120 Garrick (Lichia Amia) in one day.

click the link (not the image)

link: August Lohann with his first grunter on a mud charlie
link: Article on the Grunter Charlie
link: Mike Dolhoff with a Grunter

The December 99' edition of the Complete Fly Fisherman was the first solely on the subject (to my knowledge) by Anthony Kruger.  He wrote about targeting fishing on floating prawns, squid skirts and other odd methods.  This confused the hell out of me, but eventually I got my first chase in Great Brak on a deer hair prawn just like the ones pictured in the article.  It opened my eyes.  And pre-fishing forum was the only thing I'd really read on the Swartkops.  Today, we now know the Grunter in this lagoon are completely different in behaviour to anywhere else in the country (or world for that matter).  Feeding like pelagic predators, clearing the surface to attack even plugs thrown by lure fisherman.  If you've ever observed a grunter in the Western Cape this seems almost unfathomable.  Its like telling me that you can train a Giant Trevally to do tricks.  But it happens.  Who knows why.

Some have said its because of the presence of swimming prawns.  But they are found elsewhere, so I'm not quite buying that.  I think these fish just have a set of behaviour characteristics specific to the body of water they are found in... For example: In the South Western Cape they will only tail on a high tide and in the Breede they tail on the low tide.  Just another variable to add to the mix.

click the link (not the image) 

link: page 1

link: page 2

link: page3

link: page 4
After this an article appeared in the Complete Fly Fisherman written by either PJ Jacobs or Gerard Loubser on catching Grunter in the Knysna lagoon.  I have it somewhere and will scan and upload the pics.  He basically said that in any given year there is only one or two days to target them on fly in Knysna...

February 2011 saw another article by Anthony Kruger.  Not much literature on the subject but some pictures of grunter taken on fly in the Eastern Cape and good general info on Eastern Cape Angling.

click the link (not the image) 

Cover

link: page 1

link: page 2

link: page 3

link: page 4

link: page 5


Still to come: TCFF Knysna article, JAM fly articles, Forum Threads

9 comments:

  1. Interesting stuff, I remember seeing grunter tailing in a crystal clear estuary when I was a kid and we drove from Durban to CT.

    I can't get the links to work, just asks me to sign in to google docs?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Apologies Dave, locked them by mistake.... They are open now!

    ReplyDelete
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    ايه رايكم فيه؟
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