I happened upon one of my journals this past weekend. It’s from 2009 mostly and figured it’d make an interesting read. As I was paging through it having a chuckle at odd insights and strange thoughts, I came across the following the entry. Obviously I had had a frustrating morning on the mud flats at Knysna…
9 July 2009
This morning, as I waded across the mud bank, something about the way the light fell out of the dank mist and the way in which [the] noises of the lagoon oozed into the morning made me reflective.
The obvious route my slightly hungover mind took was in the direction of grunter. Those fish that had now began splashing on the far side of the flat as the tide silently pushed up and over the prawn banks.
I fished as my mind wondered and I got skunked. One follow on a floating prawn, one on a Marabou Muddler. Maybe it was my distracted mindset but I don’t believe I could have done anything better. My presentations were good, landed softly well away from the shoal, the fly drifted perfectly into the mud and I retrieved it in my best possible mud prawn imitation.
I need to mix this up! There must be better ways of approaching these fish! SACK!
Something else I realised this morning: I’ve been chasing these fish for almost ten years. What really made me shake my head at myself is the fact that in those years I’ve only caught seven on fly – none of which could be considered substantial fish! I had less frustration from my run-ins with Permit on the islands. And they’re meant to be tough! – by average I’ve caught hundreds more! Why do I even persist, it’s like I’m trying to scratch an itch that keeps sneaking back in different, harder to reach spots!
I’ve even given up trying to catch them on more than one occasion No jokes, never again! Yet here I sit, behind a vice trying my best to come up with something that will change my fortunes.
It really is an interesting journey, reading back through my musings over the years. I’ve taken a long sabbatical from grunter; chasing Bones, Perms and Geets in the Seychelles. But it is time to start again. There have been huge developments – JAM flies, articulated prawns, realistic and suggestive patterns. Peter Coetzee, MC Coetzer (and company) and Henkie Altena have rewritten the record books and changed our thinking in terms of what is possible.
There are lots of stories out there about people catching them. Some are true. Many are not. There is a lot of claiming, I haves and this is how you must do its!
What I do know is that walking into a shop, buying a couple of JAM flies and then heading to Breede for a family weekend is not going to get you Grunter on fly.
The Spotted Grunter (and soon, I’m sure, the Pignose) is our Permit. It is our fish to muse over, cry over and celebrate. After that entry my focus shifted quite significantly as I prepared for a trip to the Seychelles dealt with some rough water in my personal life. I never ever discovered the idea to change my fortunes, but I think it is time to start looking again.