FOSAF FLYFISHING REPORTS - Saltwater - Upper South Coast

Date of Report: Friday, 18th October 2019
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Name: Martin Smuts

It is funny how we experience fantastic fishing weather during the working week, perhaps a gentle breeze or warm overcast conditions. Then the weekend rolls around and so does the wind, appearing to have gained momentum during the course of the week, now shows itself as a gale, with an icy chill or torrents of rain, either way it certainly puts a damper on the fishing. This is what the conditions have been like for most of the past month and even though it was not the most favourable conditions, some guys still managed to squeeze in a session or two at our local spots. As it turns out, they were more like practice sessions than anything else and if it were not for a few tiny kingies, it would have been a total blank.

It is during these times, the non-fishing weather times, that I turn to my fly-tying desk to release some of that “I need to go fishing” energy. Over the years a couple of patterns have proved essential in my fly boxes. These are a few of the flies that I make sure I never go without.

The Green Mamba, a fly affectionately named by fellow fly fishermen after realizing its effectiveness in taking a variety of species, from the surf zone, rocky gullies and especially in estuaries and harbours. The fly is basically a variation of the original Mud Charlie, that proved to be so effective in the eastern cape estuaries a good few years back. I tie it on #2 or #4 hook, Charlie style dumbbells, medium olive bucktail wing and an olive hackle that splays outward on each side of the wing. Tied with medium olive thread and zero flash, this fly has become my most successful pattern.

For the surf zone and when not expecting a monstrous fish of a lifetime, I turn to the simple yet highly effective Orange Crazy Charlie. This is an internationally known fly and for good reason too. The materials for tying this fly can be substituted to allow for using what is available to you, so long as the colour is orange. I tie it using synthetic materials (they just last longer), brass bead chain eyes for the shallow surf zone and dumbbell eyes when fishing deeper water. Orange crystal flash tied in as a shot tail, then wrapped around the shank towards the hook eye, with a couple of strands that lay under and slightly longer than the wing material of orange sculpting fibre or similar. This fly can be tied in tiny sizes and up to #1 hook, to catch a variety of species from tiny rats and mice to some really decent Three Spot Pompano and others.

A fly that has recently become a must have in my box, is the Garden Route Spotted Shrimp. This is a small fly, I tie them on #6 & #8 hooks and even on smaller freshwater hooks. This fly has a habit of hooking those fussy fish that will follow up and inspect your fly only to shy away in an instant. It can be presented to visibly feeding fish, around structure or, as I like to fish it in the surf, in tandem with the likes of a Charlie pattern as the dropper and the GRSS as the point fly. The tandem rig has proven highly effective in the surf zone when you are sure that there are fish around, perhaps a shoal of Three spots, but they want nothing more to do with your Charlie presentations. This is when I tie the GRSS on as a point fly. This fly’s tying process can be quite challenging to explain in a few lines, for full tying instruction search Garden Route Spotted Shrimp on YouTube.

It is midweek again and as has become the norm these days, the weather is fantastic fishing weather, I just hope it holds out through the weekend.

Until next time, tight lines guys.

And you can contact me on 078 962 0111 or

Some of the species you can find in Durban harbour are shown below: