I had salt on the mind all week, and so early Friday headed out to join Conrad at De Mond. The flat looked perfect, the water was lukewarm and there was only one thing missing… fish.
The two of scoured the channels, grass beds and usual haunts, but save for one or two super spooky fish, we were left just to enjoy the sights and sounds. And then my phone rang. I couldn’t take the call but I could see it was Ian.
I looked at Conrad and said “this can only mean one thing”, “Grunter!” Conrad responded. On the walk back I called Ian and was shocked at what I was about to hear. 7 fish in 3 hours. More missed and dropped. “Get your ass up here asap, its wild”. Well, weekend of the Overberg estuaries aside, Im driving to the Garden Route!
Conrad agreed, we’ve learnt that a day when the fish are on is worth 40 when they are off.
The next morning I misjudged sunrise badly, and arrived an hour late at 5:30. Ian had already been smashing the Leeries off the bridge. I managed one before we hit the flats. At first they were everywhere, but the lack of wind meant that every cast was a new ripple and spooked fish. We wished for wind. And boy did it come. We were essentially blown out and the numbers of yesterday were not around. Ian managed one early, i was left with my stomach in my throat after a few near misses. Interestingly we found the fish all sitting in a deep channel, had we not been on SUPs we would never had known.
They were clearly sipping things off the surface. I tied on a floating prawn and immediately big fish started rolling underneath, redfish style. We couldn’t however manage to get them to smash on the surface like we had in Little Brak, but the enquiries continued, practically nosing the fly just out the water. An hour or so of this went by before the wind was unplayable.
To make matters worse, the action seemed to have tipped in Conrads favour at our planned destination. Right place. Wrong time for me.
2013 was incredible for me. As a season I had almost 100% strike rate in Grunter until December, and then what will always be known as the permit miracle of 2013 I couldn’t miss a bloody fish. So I knew my fortune would turn, its how the game works. It keeps you in check, whether to help your humility or appreciation for that special fish, who knows. Ray faced the same adversity a year removed, but this weekend it became his game again, and he managed a beautiful perm and an absolute Bream massacre.
The tally for Friday to Sunday was 8 Grunter, 1 Permit, 13 Bream (give or take). The new moon in November is not to be missed, anywhere. I’ll keep missing those Grunter for that Trachinotus Africanus or Masirah Milkfish this December. And i’ll make fish cakes out of that sucker and wash it down with one of Rays mojitos out of spite.