Gladstone Sponsored Angler
Over the past four to five years Ryan has made grunter fishing near his home town of Gladstone a bit of a mission. He’s researched the fish and it’s habits and dedicated plenty of time to figuring out where they’ll be, how the tides affect their movement and how to get them to take a well presented lure. In this episode of the ALF podcast he shares plenty of his learnings and helps get others on track for success on the grunter.
Ryan’s Top Tips For Grunter Fishing
- Winter grunter fishing is good around Gladstone, with fish found in good numbers through the tidal parts of creeks as well as in the channel within the bay, where they often school up.
- Grunter primarily feed on small crustaceans and are typically found over areas of mixed sand and gravel bottom, often adjacent to rock bars or other structure.
- Ryan likes the bigger tides leading up to the full moon and prefers to start fishing creeks during the run in, when the fish often move from structure or deeper water onto the flats and follow the water up as they pick off prawns and crabs.
- In the bay Ryan finds that the best times are an hour or so on either side of a tide change, and it doesn’t really matter whether it’s a high tide or low tide change. At these times the current slows enough to get lightly weighted lures down to where the fish are feeding.
- A key for success is to let your lures rest stationary on the bottom between hops. Don’t strike immediately a you get a bite as you’ll miss a lot of fish. Wait for a second or two and then take up any slack to set the hook.
Ryan’s Grunter Fishing Tackle
- Ryan likes to fish fairly light for this species, but accepts that in so doing he’ll sometimes miss a by-catch of barramundi or other estuary species.
- A 1-5kg Raider rod, 2500 size Shimano Stradic reel and 10lb braid matches the size and power of the fish pretty well. Ryan goes a little heavier with the leader, preferring 30lb to give himself some chance if a barra or other species jumps on the lure.
Ryan’s Lures For Targeting Grunter
- A 3″ Berkeley Gulp Shrimp is a pretty reliable lure for grunter fishing and should be rigged on the lightest head that will allow the lure to reach bottom. It may be necessary to switch to heavier or lighter jig heads as the tidal flow changes. Cast the shrimp to where fish are feeding and let it sink to bottom, then work it slowly back with a series of gentle rod lifts to keep the lure moving slowly near the bottom. Grunter often take the lure when it’s stationary, so don;t be afraid to let it settle on the bottom for 2-3 seconds between hops. At other times slowly dragging the shrimp along the bottom can get good results.
- The ever reliable 95mm Zerek Fish Trap is a great option for this species, especially when fishing at night. It’s best worked as slowly as possible whilst still getting some vibration from the lure. Grunter will also take this lure off the bottom, so be sure and let it sit stationary from time to time.
- Happy Rock Softies Grubs are a great choice when the water clears a little and again should be rigged on heads that are just weighted enough to get the lure to bottom. Ryan finds that the best way to fish these lures is to simply roll them very slowly along the bottom at constant speed. Don’t strike if you get a tap, just keep winding and wait for the rod to load up.