Flyfishing report: Saltwater - Garden Route

Date of Report: Monday, 1st August 2022
Name: Brian Sowden
Phone: 076 0525634

It has been a very slow time for fly fishing in the Garden Route.

Not much coming in the way of catches on the long rod

At this stage what I can tell you is that the Klein Brak River mouth has been opened last week and hopefully we can see some life there with catches being reported.

The Goukamma mouth along with the Sedgefield/Swartvlei mouth is now closed with water levels at a high which will make it difficult to wade for those elusive Grunters.

The Garden Route Fly Fishers have been busy getting locals together for some fishing days and flytying events. They also had a fundraiser for the Knysna Animal Welfare Society ( KAWS) and raised money for this much needed organisation that does so much for the animals in our communities.

Chris Wood had this to say

"Two nights, two full houses! Sadly, all over until next year when we do it all again. GRFF proudly and exclusively presented F3T 2022, a collection of inspiring fly-fishing films taken mainly during the pandemic. Thanks to Frontiers, KIFF, Fly Tying Smith, Luke van den Heever for his awesome collection of deadly estuary flies. Plus Mike, Sue and legend Bjorn from Belvidere Manor. And a shout out to Johnathan De Souza for his ongoing support and lekker popcorn. Tactical Angler was in the house and well supported. A BIG thanks to our members for making the journey to Knysna from Plett to Mossel Bay and to Richard who drove through the night from Joburg to be with us. So, we have the foundations for a Garden Route fly fishing general festival, let’s see where it takes us. Plus we raised R4600 for Knysna Animal Welfare! Cheers until next time."

Truly a great initiative getting fly fishermen together here in the Garden Route

Luke van der Heever and Niel Malan have been on a recce mission targeting some different species to the norm off a boat in the Knysna heads.

Luke had this to say about their fishing session

"The not-so-off season. The garden route tends to come to a stand still during the winter months. The days get colder, time slows down and the only constant is the tide. The fly-fishing isn’t much different, the estuary temperatures drop below that of the surrounding ocean and most of the usual target species tend to leave the system or become very lethargic and inactive.

Your shots at fish on the flats are few and far between and the light penetration and visibility is below average but once in a while, the spots align, and a grunter comes to hand... But what about the other species?

Growing up, I always believed that winter was a time to put the fly rods down and pick up the rock and surf tackle, however winter provides many opportunities for those who are willing to look elsewhere. As we continue to understand these fisheries better and the alternative species that can be targeted, it allows us to enjoy the systems year round."

One of the species they got on fly was a Koester Rock Cod and being a rock cod they can take flies that are meant for a much bigger fish due to the size of their mouths. A very pretty fish in all aspects, really beautiful colorations.

In Knysna, Craig Smith was at it again with a few Grunters.

Hopefully after August we will see an increase in the numbers of fish caught as the winter cold months have not been the best time to get out there for a session due to windy cold days.

Keep on casting.


Garden Route Fly Fishers meeting.


Koester rock cod.