Highly experienced guide, Richard Wale, has spent countless hours perfect tactics and flies for Spotted Grunter on the Breede River and through OG Fly Studio has supplied us at Mavungana Flyfishing with a specialised grunter fly pack. This pack will work on most Western and Southern Cape Estuaries. Read on to find out more about the flies, as well as some of Richie’s tips and tricks.
These are his words:
ON THE FLY PACK
The pack was designed specifically to fish the mud banks of the Breede River and is the product of years of experimenting as well as learning and ‘borrowing’ from some of the pioneers. The basic idea is that if you’re new to flyfishing for spotted grunter, you’re going to want to target them on the mud flats where there is a presence of tailing fish, but you are not going to fish directly at those tailing fish. In essence, you’re going to be fishing blind, this way you will have the most amount of hits and action and stand the best chance of connecting.
There are of course various other highly-effective techniques, presentations and flies (including crabs and JAM flies etc) and, as has been so well documented, grunter behave very differently in different systems — even in different areas of the same estuary system…This pack and the techniques on how to fish the flies is specifically for the mud-back application.
The pack contains three different patterns (two of each):
1. Old School Deerhair Prawn
The first fly is my adaptation of the old school deerhair prawn (or ‘turd’ fly). a lot of people tie it in different ways but over the years I have narrowed it down to a profile and shape that I am comfortable with. That for me is the go-to topwater pattern and often the opener on the day.
2. Foam-headed Floating Prawn
The second pattern in the pack is a foam-headed topwater pattern that fishes very similar to LeRoy Botha’s Ironman or Henkie Altena’s AGHA pattern. I use a different foam configuration and built that tail section so that the pattern suspends almost vertically in the water. That is the beauty of this fly for me.
I often switch over to this pattern if I am getting a lot of enquiries on the turd but they’re just not connecting. With this foam head floating vertically and when they come and suck on it, they get it in their mouth slightly easier. If the conditions are a lot calmer, without the presence of too much wind, then I also fish the foam head, but if it is windy and there is a lot of swell and load going on then stick to your deerhair turd. At least if you are not getting hits then you have something to change between.
3. Slow-sinking Prawn
The third pattern is an articulated, stacked-sculpting fibre prawn. It presents lightly and sinks slowly. This type of pattern has gained popularity among many of the grunter experts and tiers in recent times and has produced some epic fish. So, I fish this when they’re not coming up to the topwater flies. I have caught many grunter on this fly just casting and fishing it almost static near drop-offs. If there are tailing fish around, drift it and give it a little twitch now and then.
ON TERMINAL TACKLE
For a leader I prefer to use fluoro with a 12lb tippet. You can comfortably use 12lb Maxima Ultra Green and the like, but I trust fluoro and it also means that if I change from the floating to the sinking prawns I don’t have to change the leader. (The fluoro won’t sink your floating prawns in any negative way).
When it comes to a line I’ve recently started fishing the Royal Wulff Bermuda Triangle floating line and it has been a game changer. As with most high-end saltwater lines it has a heavier head for pushing into the wind and casting bigger flies, but what has really set it apart is the coating. All-too-often with many lines the running section just tangles in the line basket. This coating is so smooth and the line retains its integrity so that there are far fewer tangles. So, in terms of line management and castability it ticks all the boxes – on a 7 or 8WT you simply can’t go wrong.
Visit us in-store for more info on the fly packs or to get fully-geared for estuary season, or shop the flies online – we ship country-wide.