Early morning rise to target some of the Swartkops rivers’ most iconic fish!

On the morning of the 29th of April 2019 my dad and I woke up at 05:00 on a mission to go and target some of the Swartkops rivers’ most iconic fish: the Spotted Grunter also known as “Tigers” in the Eastern Cape and the Garrick or Leervis in Afrikaans and maybe a Kob.

Preparation for the day:

We first quickly rigged our rods with traces and lures we required for the day, packed some breakfast and lunch and then the other necessary equipment to ensure the weather doesn’t get the better of us (caps, buffs, long sleeved shirts, jackets, sunblock etc.) and lastly, the bait collecting equipment like a prawn pump and pencil bait/razor clam wire and a bucket. After everything was packed we were off to the launch site at Tiger Bay.


Arrival, bait collection and fishing:

Launching the boat on this beautiful autumn day really gave us hope for the day to come as there was not a breath of wind and the skies were blue and clear. Our first stop was a mud bank opposite the “Modderspruit” to collect some mud prawn, Kannetjie (worm), pencil bait and “Pypie wurm” and we quickly did so and collected about 70 prawns between my dad and myself, 10 pencil baits, 5-8 “Kannetjies” and just two little pieces of “Pypie wurm” and decided to go and find our fishing spot for the incoming tide. 

After collecting our bait we already saw the local fishermen catching some Spotted grunter on the opposite bank next to the “Modderspruit” so we decided to go and lie on the mouth side of the “Modderspruit” in the channel, and then our plan was to cast onto the banks with a little ball sinker that’s not to heavy that it would lie still with the current and also not too light that the current washes it too quickly off the bank. We didn’t even have to wait long and within 20 minutes of fishing and changing the bait and putting fresh bait on I went tight on the first grunter of the morning at about 10:30, and the grunter sure gave me a proper 15min fight on the ultralight setup I was using (Abu Garcia BMAX 5’6” Light rated 2-8lb line class paired with a Blackmax SP5 reel) with 10lb braid and an Adrenalin 1/0 Circle hook and piece of “Pypie wurm” which hooked the 72cm grunter perfectly in the corner of the mouth. 

After the excitement of the first grunter it went quiet for about half an hour, so we decided to quickly have a sandwich and a cold drink and that’s exactly when my dad’s reel started screaming on the next grunter, 65cm fish caught on a Shimano convergence 6’6” medium paired with a Shimano Caldia and a “Kannetjie” worm!

With the rude interruption from the second grunter we continued to finish our lunch and shortly thereafter I caught and released another nice grunter of 50cm. After the third grunter we decided to call it a successful day at about 12:30 and decided to head home in order to miss the heat of the day.

At arrival at the Tiger Bay slipway I noticed some surface action and mullets jumping so I knew there must have been a Garrick chasing some of the mullet. I quickly rigged a Strike pro surface lure in attempt to catch the Garrick chasing the mullets and to my surprise there was a shoal of juvenile Garrick on the edge of the slipway and I managed to catch 2 of the feisty buggers and my dad managed to hook one or two more that unfortunately came off at the water’s edge. 

Cleaning and cooking:

After having fun with the juvenile Garrick I quickly de-scaled and gutted the two grunters on the slipway and then we headed home where I filleted the Grunters, cut the skin off and cut the fillet in more manageable pieces. After the fish was portioned and cleaned I got the ingredients: cake wheat flour, salt, pepper and fish spice, and spiced the fillets and sealed them with the Cake wheat flour and put them in the pan with some Canola oil until they were cooked. It always amazes me how tasty fresh fish is with simple ingredients such as fish spice, salt and pepper and a little bit of lemon juice. DELICIOUS!

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