Sedgefield and Garrick

Sedgefield is an idyllic seaside town whose lagoon links the Swartvlei to the warm Indian Ocean. The lagoon and Swartvlei is a well-known destination for targeting Garrick on fly. Mature Garrick migrate to KwaZulu-Natal estuaries to breed and the juvenile fish return to Cape waters to mature. The Garrick population has been hit hard by illegal and unrestricted gillnetting in KwaZulu-Natal. Although it remains as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, SASSI has moved its status to RED making catch and release a must. I found myself in Sedgefield this December and decided to broaden my knowledge of the lagoon, vlei and the species.


Like any destination local knowledge is key. While soaking up the sun with friends I quizzed them on their favourite spots, observations and the local “skinner”. From this I decided to target my efforts on the spit of sand that lies near the beach. When the lagoon mouth is open this spit normally stands proud of the water level, but with the mouth closed it now lay 50cm – 1m below water level. No problem, my plan was to patrol along its edge and fish the weed beds on the banks of the channel.


Armed with an assortment of poppers, clousers and streamers I set out to fish the last 3 hours of sunlight. Garrick, Cape Moonys and Grunter were all moving out of the deeper channel waters, using the weed beds as cover, and rushing the shoals of smaller fish on the edge of the spit. I focused on casting along the bank rather than directly over the channel and then fast retrieving so the fly ran just along the edge of the weed beds.


Flashes of steely grey turning off just short of a take indicated to me that there was interest. A Cape Moony was the first real action of the evening. A good sized fish larger than my outstretched hand. Shortly after sunset a Garrick finished the hunt with a powerful take on a Salty Bugger. Garrick are known for their lively fight and this fish didn’t disappoint. With my backing line being eaten into I wondered if I had undercooked my tippet. A slow fight was called for and with some careful playing of the reel brake and line I landed a beautiful 50cm Garrick. After admiring its silky steely grey body in the failing light of evening, the barbless hook ensured an easy release.

Something for Next Time

A heavy south easter greeted me the next morning and evening which saw me punching my flies into the wind. With Garrick and Grunter in abundance (I was kicking myself for not packing crab and mud prawn imitations) the day saw me coming home empty handed. Surveying the lagoon I recon there are at least three more prime sites to Fish The Fly; so that’s three more trips and three more stories to tell.

The tech-bits shared

I was fishing with:

Rod and reel: Dean 9” 8WT, line was held by a Stealth 8wt reel.

Line, leader and tippet: RIO 8WT fast sinking line followed by leader and 3 x tippet.

Flies: Salty Bugger white with green accent, also much interest in Popper and Clouser Minnow again with green accent.

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