Over the recent school break, my family and I spent the week at Umngazi. It was a family holiday and while the fishing rods were packed, the intention was not to do a full-blooded fishing trip. Nevertheless, we still did a fair amount of fishing. As it can be with Transkei estuaries, winter fishing is fairly tough but we caught bits and pieces including some juvenile kingfish, GTs, blacktips etc, but nothing of note.

Juvenile kingfish at Umngazi
Juvenile kingfish at Umngazi

What I like to do, especially when fishing an area I do not really know – is to fish a floating line with a super long leader and a heavily weighted tungsten Clouser. Fishing this way covers a lot of bases. So, depending on the water depth, the slower I fish it I cover kob and grunter. If I speed it up a bit I cover leeries, kingies and all of this stuff.

While in places like the Breede River or along the Garden Route people agonize over prawn and crab patterns, my typical technique for catching grunter in the Eastern Cape and the Wild Coast/Transkei is to fish water or channels that are to a max of 2,5m deep, where those fish might hold or be moving through. You let that heavy Clouser with the long leader sink and then once you feel it is on bottom or close to the bottom, what I like to do is give it one solid quick strip and then I let it drop for five seconds and that’s the way I fish it.

On the pushing tide at the river on our second last day at Umngazi, I was fishing that technique on a 8-weight rod with a floating line and nothing much was happening when suddenly the line just stopped dead. Until the fish was close to me I actually thought I was into a grunter or even a kob. It turned out to be a river perch or river bream or Slim Jannie depending on who you ask (Latin name – Acanthopagrus berda). It was also a big fish at that. I have caught them in Transkei rivers before but nothing much bigger than a kilo. I would estimate that this fish was over 2kg. I think the largest recorded specimen was 3.2kgs., but I don’t think I have ever seen a picture of one close to that. As far as the species goes, this was a goon.

Ewan Naude with a large river perch
Ewan Naude with a large river perch

It’s incredibly important to release these fish. They are excellent eating and are relatively easy to catch, but they are super slow growing. I think this particular fish you could estimated to be about 15 years old.

4 thoughts on “WILD COAST CHONK”

  1. Lekker fish bru!
    Your knowing that its a really slow growing fish, and letting it go,
    despite being delicious, is a champ move!
    good on ya!


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