The tides where never really going to let us fish properly. But a long weekend was excuse enough to break out the fly rods and a bunch of new ideas to chase some grunter over the mudflats of the Breede.
While JD and his old man headed up on Thursday, Mike and I only left Friday morning. After the slog trip, we were on the water at 12:30ish and managed to catch the end of the tide. And the grunter were there.
We’ve been playing with a floating fly imitation. My main reason is that coming form the crystal clear waters of the SCape estuaries, the off colour and often muddy waters of the Breede were going to irritate me! I’ve only fished the Breede once before and that was in 2004. Tragic I know, but I tend to find myself heading straight home to Knysna when I have time off and therefore skip that right turn just before Swellendam!
Needless to say, I struggled to come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t presenting to a sighted moving fish but rather making a reactionary cast to a mud that had been pushed up to by a feeding fish or the splashing of a tail breaking the surface. Mindset shift time.
I watched JD for awhile and got into the rhythm of presenting into the right areas and drifting the fly into the zone. By the end of two hours fishing I’d had two very clear inspections and a missed take from feeding grunts – no matter what fish you are chasing, it is always a rush seeing those shoulders break the surface behind the fly. JD had had a similar day and Mike and George had landed a few grunts on real prawns.
My fly needed work – I didn’t like the way it was swimming or floating and that evening was spent catching up, telling stories and making adjustments to our ideas and flies.
The next morning saw us throwing lures for leeries at the mouth before doing some work at the Filmalter building site – they’ve recently bought a plot just down from Mudlarks and are in stage 1 of developing it: erecting a fishing shack to serve our fishing purposes until the main house is built. And then it was back onto the flats for the push.
But the wind was PUMPING. Our intended flat was completely blown out and we headed up river to find something more sheltered. We did, but only just. I put my feet for awhile to wait for the tide while JD played Heron.
The action started when Mike hooked and landed a tank on a prawn and 4lb line – 78cm I think. I managed to fluff three casts at fish in the horrendous wind. JD however didn’t and after pricking a good fish, had another shot and landed an average sized grunter. And an averaged sized grunter, like Permit, is still a damn good fish. It was a good day all in all.
Sunday morning we fished the dropping tide before the long drive back to the city. We’re hoping to head down again week after next and I’m particularly keen to settle a couple of scores with the Breede’s Snorting Prawn Sharks.
I definitely didn’t fish that hard but just being on a flat properly again was needed therapy after a very hectic beginning to the year! Even though I found myself freezing, waste deep in the windy conditions (and then hiding from it and thawing in the bow of the boat) it was an opportunity to clear the mind, settle a few worries and put a smile back on my face!
The floating deerhair prawn has traces of the original deerhair fly, shown to me by Gerard Barnardt, that started my fascination with these catching these fish on fly more than 10 years ago. I still marvel at how long ago I got my first grunt!