There are not many fly fishermen that regularly fish the surf-zone in the Western Cape, but those that do chuck flies in the suds regularly make remarkable catches. Recently Aiden de Jager and friends caught Santer on fly. This is a first on fly as far as I know and is quite remarkable, not only because this species is not regularly encountered, and certainly not close inshore.
Over to Aiden for the story;
“This previous weekend a couple of mates and myself spent a weekend chasing saltwater species on fly in the rock and surf zone near the mouth of the Breede River. The conditions were not great, so we decided to target shad (bluefish / tailor) off the reefs and sandstone ledges at low tide. Our choice of tackle was 8wt rods and big 4/0 SF blend streamers for big shad.
After catching a couple of shad, we noticed these red fish charging out from underneath ledges, chase our flies and then dart back under the rocks on the side of the rock gully we where fishing which is not a normal sight in this area. We had had no idea what they were at the time. After numerous chases and no hookups we decided to change tactics and switch to intermediate lines in order to get some depth. We managed to get the flies down despite the current until they were next to the rocks where we saw the fish emerge from. Using short and fast strips, and using the same SF patterns, we managed to keep them interested all the way to our feet. That’s when we figured out they where Santer! We managed the land a couple with plenty of chases on fly truly a different experience.”
Beautiful fish! Great catch on fly, well done Aiden.
Interesting post Conrad, thank you for sharing.
Actually, there’s an area here in Algoa Bay that appears to have much the same physical characteristics of some of those flat reef ledge and boulder areas that you seem to be fishing some of the time. At one particular zone along this section of coast, santer (or as we call them here, basterman) are not an unusual catch on lures cast from shore on light spinning gear.
In Angola, there’s another, very similar fish, and they are easily taken from the shore on fly and light spinning gear, but that is a pointless comment as it’s another fish in another ocean ;-))
Once one gets just offshore around shallow reefs, harbour walls, etc. then this fish is one of the mainstay catches on dredged flies and bucktail jigs, and at times they can even be a bit pestulent. They are agro buggers just like many of our sparid ‘redfishes’.
All that said, those are some lekker-sized bassies for inshore, for sure and a great catch, I hope you get more.