Targeted species

Since I first laid eyes on a shoal of Spotted Grunter tailing in shallow water, I knew that I would be spending a lot of time pursuing these, my new favourite fish species.

When tailing over muddy bottoms, in discoloured water or in deeper water (50 cm and deeper) other locally developed flies that I have tried, have proven their effectiveness, and taken a fair number of Grunter.

Except for two or three fish over a ten year plus period, the Grunter tailing over clear sandy bottoms had still eluded me. Yet they have been there all along, I would see them on almost every outing, thrashing their tails and then bolting off at the sight of my presentations. As the years have rolled by, their habit of bolting at the sight of my presentations appears to have changed. They now seem to tolerate my presence and even swim right up to me to give my fly a good looking at. They even follow it, at times almost to the rod tip and now they are into the habit of actually eating the fly.

The Fly

Tied on #6 or even better a #8 hook, the zonker strip variation of the Peterson's Spawning Shrimp has become my go to fly when targeting Spotted Grunter feeding in shallow, clear water over a sandy bottom in Durban harbour.

Presented to individuals actively tailing or in the general area of tailing Grunter, and retrieved with short, fast strips, interspersed with the occasional pause, has proven to be an effective technique. Note, the fly has also been eaten while lying still on the bottom.

Materials List

  • Hook- #6 or #8 Mustad 34007 or similar.
  • Thread- Danvilles Fly Master Plus in Hot Pink or similar.
  • Eyes- Small dumbells or beadchain to suit size of hook.
  • Hot spot- Orange sculpting fibre or similar.
  • Head and mouth parts- Ginger Shrimp sculpting fibre or similar.
  • Eyes- Burnt monofilament (30lb).
  • Legs- Sililegs or similar to suit size of hook.
  • Flash- Pearl flashabou
  • Body- Tufts of rabbit fur from zonker strip.
  • Superglue or similar.


Tying Steps


1. With a #6 or #8 hook in the vice, lay thread (pink colour works fine) up to 1/3 of the hook shank and tie in small dumbell eyes (tungsten or beadchain) and apply super glue to thread wraps.


2. Continue to lay thread up to just on the hook bend. Tie in a (Hot Spot) small clump of orange sculpting fibre or similar material, cut off just passed the hook bend.


3. Select a small clump of Ginger Shrimp sculpting fibre or similar and tie in on top of Hot Spot. Fibres should extend passed the bend of the hook by approx. the length of the hook shank.


4. Tie in, previously prepared, burnt (30lb) monofilament eyes on the underside (towards the hook bend) on either side and should extend to just passed the Hot Spot.


5. Tie in optional rubber legs (the Grunter don’t seem to mind, with or without). Here I have split a single rubber leg in two, down the length, in order to get very thin little legs, which need only extend to just past the length of the Ginger Fibres.


6. Select 3 or 4 strands of pearl flashabou or similar, tie in on top of sculpting fibres. Keep strands together and wrap over the thread wraps that secure the sculpting fibre. Wrap a couple of times over approx. 1/3 of hook shank from bend of hook. Tip: a small drop of super glue applied before wrapping prevents flashabou strands from going astray. After wrapping, tie off and apply super glue over flashabou wraps.


7. Invert hook in vice. Select a very small clump of rabbit fur from a tan coloured zonker strip. Tie in the clump of fur with 3 or 4 loose wraps, adjust length of fur (should end just past the mono eyes) by pulling opposite end until desired length is achieved, then secure with tight wraps (Repeat for each clump of fur). A tiny drop of super glue over thread wraps is advisable.


8. Prepare second clump of rabbit fur by removing extra long fibres from clump. Take thread to just behind the dumbell eyes and tie in prepared clump of rabbit fur. A tiny drop of super glue over thread wraps is advisable.


9. Take thread to the front of the dumbell eyes and tie in final clump of rabbit fur and tie off. Supper glue is applied to the thread wraps.


10. Invert fly once again and apply super glue to thread wraps along hook shank, if not already done previously.


11. Trim excess rabbit fur from fly by carefully pinching between thumb nail and forefinger rather than trimming with scissors.

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