FOSAF FLYFISHING REPORTS - Saltwater - Upper South Coast

Date of Report: Monday, 19th July 2021
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Name: Martin Smuts
Phone: 078 9620111

It seems that I will have to spend more time in the pursuit of my “Trophy Garrick”. Another month has passed and no Garrick, this has no doubt got everything to do with the fact that I have been obsessing over the Spotted Grunter, again.

Last month I had success in fairly shallow water of about a meter in depth and recently I have succeeded in catching them in very shallow water, less than half a meter deep, very exciting stuff. I suppose being in the right place at the right time puts the odds greatly in one’s favour.

Getting to the right place, I paddled along a drop off, peering into the deep clear water over the sand. Every so often a fish would show itself before darting off, then a school of about seven or so big Grunt’s coast in off the sand and disappear into the deep. Wow, I think to myself, maybe I should stop and fish here, nevertheless, I paddle on. Still peering into the water, not much farther along, another big Grunter, this time casually swimming, midwater and unconcerned with me as I glide passed. It really does get ones hopes up to see trophy fish like that while out fishing.

With much self-restraint, I get to my intended spot without stopping to cast a line along the way. It may be considered the most challenging way to pursue Spotted Grunter on fly, yet it is without a doubt my favourite, that is to target them while they are feeding in shallow water. It is needless to mention how spooky they get when in the shallows, and I believe that keeping a low profile and keeping out of their sight is key. A fishing kayak allows one to float in very shallow water and move about quietly, it has a low profile and the fact that you are seated means that you too present a lower profile. At least that is my theory.

The Petersons Spawning Shrimp pattern, tied on a number 6 hook has become a consistent producer for me, when fishing shallow water over sand. Presented to fish activity and stripped away quickly in short fast strips has proven as an effective retrieve. Sitting quietly observing feeding Grunter, while resisting the temptation to cast allows you to witness the different ways in which the fish give away their positions. From full blown tail thrashing aggression to a large tail gently breaking the surface, to fatties practically wallowing in the sand they go about their business of feeding.

I try to present to the fish closest to me, thereby avoiding the chance of lining and spooking other fish, which is inevitable by the way. On this particular day, the fish were feeding hard and gave little concern to my presence, allowing me numerous opportunities, some of which were hard to believe did not convert into hookups. When the take did come, it caught me by surprise, and though it was a small fish (+-30cm) it put up a good fight and was a boost to my confidence.

The next take came as a group of about three or four fish moved into the shallows just to my left. Tailing almost side by side, my fly landed about a meter ahead of them. It was as though I knew it would eat before it did, and when it did, it all came together so perfectly. This fish, roughly 45cm in length, gave a really good fight and used the strong current flowing over the shallows to its full advantage. Just the two fish were landed that morning but the number of opportunities to sight cast to feeding Grunter, were countless.

I have started a YouTube channel, it is called Swazifly, I have put up a few videos of fly fishing Durban harbour that I am sure you will enjoy. To watch please go to


Flies that have proven successful on Spotted Grunter in shallow water, left Peterson's Spawning Shrimp #6, GR Spotted Shrimp #6 and right a Shawn # 4.