Portrait of a Fly Part II. The JAM

Tying Jam flies is a laborious and arduous affair. But I would definitely tie a fresh JAM for every grunter I catch, if it was such a guaranteed business. Unfortunately it’s not. Many flies are tied without ever catching a fish; guess it’s the nature of grunter fishing.

Until recently I did not have enough confidence in my own JAM flies, and I had to bribe Jannie Visser every few months to tie me a few. Below is a pic of the last two he tied for me. I took the pic on the dash of his Landcruiser as we drove into Cape Town via Eastern Boulevard.

JAM @

One of them disappeared out of my fly box; quite a common and inexplicable occurrence with Jam flies, especially if Jannie tied them. The other set a personal best score for me, because it tallied up the highest score of grunter on a single fly. Earlier this season, I managed to catch 9 grunter on this fly. And what makes it even more special is the fact that it was never removed from the tippet.

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The last fish was one of the most memorable; the grunt was tailing in inches of water, or at least trying to tail. Wallowing like a piglet was more like it. After it stopped tailing, the fly was presented and drifted into the fish’s zone. When I saw it trying to tail again, I felt some movement on the fly and pulled the leader tight, setting the hook. Then big thrill watching the fish haul ass out of skinny water to make it to the safety of the drop-off. Mike Gradidge, who was fishing with me, dragged himself through the mud to snap a few pics in the evening’s last rays before it was tagged and released.

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Maybe I should frame the fly or something. Or maybe I should just tie it on when I hit the grunter flats this weekend …

2 thoughts on “Portrait of a Fly Part II. The JAM”

  1. Michael Gradidge says:

    Great little article Conrad!

    Incidentally, to everyone reading this, I am the grateful beneficiary of Conrad’s lack of confidence in his own JAM flies. His box is full of Jannie’s flies, and mine is full of Conrad’s flies!

    I also have some of Jannie’s too, almost certainly including the one that went AWOL from Conrad’s box.

  2. stephen says:

    Throw the turd….throw the turd…

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