Long the dream of those who chase grunter, the fabled prawn is a phenomenon that occurs in South Africa’s estuaries and lagoons. Kevin Flanagan and mates were lucky enough to hit it just right…
The modern-day fly fishing weekend warrior, can’t afford to pick a weekend with bum tides and unfavourable conditions which can be monitored from behind a desk, especially when heading to the holy grail Breede River. You need to go full “anal” and use every resource to try pick a weekend where all the “powers that be” will align and hopefully the fish will lose their minds and eat like stoned students. We picked our weekend and we picked smart.
After a sunrise session of shooting flies out for kob, where all we got out of the session was casting practise, we turned our attention to the dropping tide and those bat shit crazy grunter. Our hopes of coming tight on some pigs, where quickly dashed as we hardly spotted a tail for hours. When this happens our fly fishing trio develop some creative theories as to why there are no fish. The blame usually gets pointed in the direction of the 21ft Ace Crafts driving up and down the river looking for “f#ck knows what”. I swear these guys think that great fish are caught when the boat is on plane and the rods are staked.
Plodding around the mud flats in our sexy shin high botties hunting fish, we spotted some suicidal mud prawns in the shallow pools left behind by the dropping tide. As we continued to walk, we noticed that every pool of water had multiple prawns just swimming around, without a care in the world. Surely if the prawns were out, the fish should be going bonkers? We continued to plug away, knowing that at least the prawns were tailing….no fish.
Eventually the allure of ice cold “kiss of saaz hop” and the lack of fish on the flats, sent us walking in the direction of home. One quick look at “Grunter bay” which had now been cleared of Ace Crafts and fisherman with 15ft surf rods with spark plug sinkers. The grunter were face planting hard into the mud, in fact the grunter were trying to beach themselves like those mal killer whales that chase seals up the beach, tearing them a new one when they catch the furry buggers.
The tide had pushed enough that the grunter had finally got a sniff of the prawns sitting in the shallows. The next hour was pure joy of shooting floating prawns into super skinny water and watching fish after fish either eat hard, or pull a grunter “howzit but no thanks” swirl on the fly.
It lasted an hour or so, once the tide had pushed up high enough, the fishing slowed, and lure of a cold beer won. Epic session.
My tip of day: Try playing around with weighting those floating prawns, to get them to suspend subsurface – your hook up rate should improve.