Massive fish are not the be all and end all of saltwater fly fishing. Sometimes, awkward beauty triumphs. With wings, lips, spots and attitude, gurnard have a growing legion of fans. As featured in The Mission Issue 05.

WHAT:

Like a Gremlin crossed with a butterfly, Cape gurnard (Chelidonichthys capensis) and/or bluefin gurnard (Chelidonichthys kumu) are colourful, local members of the scorpionfishes. They could also claim the mantle of the Jar Jar Binks of the piscatorial world.

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WHERE:

You’ll find them along most parts of the South African coastline – from the Mozambique border to Namibian border. Generally bottom-dwelling fish, although mostly caught offshore, there’s a small band of die-hards targeting them in shallower water or from the side. Leonard Flemming of Feathers & Fluoro says that they seem to favour sandy substrates in deepish water, near drop offs or structure from the side.

gurnard

HOW:

A crustacean imitation or a Clouser, a fast sinking line (lead core line) in deep water offshore, or an intermediate line if fishing from the shore, 5 to 9-weight, 15 lb tippet or less.

WHO:

You, yourself and Irene. There are very few guides who target these gems, but there’s nothing stopping you.

Read the rest of The Mission Issue 05 free below, or buy the print edition online (we ship worldwide).