Think like a fish

Craig Pote caught this grunter in the Swartkops picture: supplied
Craig Pote caught this grunter in the Swartkops picture: supplied

This past week a reader conversed with me via social media and enquired about a few aspects of angling in the Swartkops River, where I have been angling for almost half a century.

I cast my first line there and hopefully not my last.

He caught a beautiful and typical “bull” grunter found in the Swartkops. These grunters have that typical knobbed forehead (boggel) and give up a decent fight. His concern was that he caught two fish in quick succession and then all went dead.

The old saying: “You must think like a fish to catch a fish” is pertinent here.

Grunters move in schools and feed with the tide.

Craig Pote – being a bank angler – could not follow the movement of the school. They simply moved out of range.

Often their feeding activities can be seen by the mud being disturbed and seen in the shallows where they feed, especially as the light provides opportunity. During bright light conditions they tend to shelter in deeper waters and observations, being one of the angler’s six senses, are most important.

Often we race down to the river and grab the first open spot and cast.

Usually other seasoned anglers are also out and if a popular spot is vacant, then there usually is no prospect there.

Swartkops has the high ground, from where the whole river can be studied. Take the time and first study the river for a few minutes.

This has often worked wonders for me, especially at low tide (the bank continually moves, especially the sand regions).

Being able to study the banks, one can get a good idea of where the fish are.

Some days the large schools are quite visible. However, my experience is such that these marauders enter and leave under the cover of darkness.

This time of year we have strong wind but this is not always a bad situation.

Wind often has a good influence on angling conditions as the food chain is stimulated by heavy current and wave action. This releases food for fish to feed on.

The water is aerated and the movement of fish is stimulated as a result. However, it is sometimes unpleasant, so try to take advantage and fish with the wind in your favour.

Westerly winds warm the sea and our bay can be productively fished then as casting with the wind is not an issue and those who slide, can get good baits out.

This weekend we experience a good lunar phase moving from the full moon with a high tide at 6.45am on Saturday morning. The westerly will prevail and peak around 2pm.

The wind overnight lends for a good evening out, with the easterly making its presence felt around the low tide at 1.43pm on Sunday.

The odds are good for a night out on the Swartkops for those who enjoy a decent grunter!

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