Wild River Sooty Grunter

The very first cast set the trend on what ended up being a great day down one of my favourite local Sooty Grunter rivers. “What do you think of the river?” I asked regular fishing mate and Searing Tackle Field Staffer Kyle Osmond.  “Bloody awesome,” he replied with a big smile on his face as he brought in a nice wild river Sooty.

The fish was caught on a Damiki Axe Serpent one of the latest lures to be added to the Searing Tackle range. We un-hooked the Sooty and had a good look at it. It was a beautiful healthy fish that was thick across the shoulders and had a very cranky look on its face. It’s great to see these fish thriving in their natural environment.

 Sooty Grunter are a very tough fish and super aggressive making them a very popular fish to target using a variety of different lures. We had packed a heap of different lures and were both looking forward to casting a number of different offerings throughout the day.

We packed light as we planned to travel far and only brought the bare essentials in small backpacks. I take the same set up with me on all my land-based fishing. I had a Box of lures, scissors, pliers, leaders, a camera, the go-pro, a small first aid kit, my GPS, as well as water and food. I brought my 4lb setup being a 2-6lb rod matched with a 1000 size reel. Using light gear makes things much more fun and tests out an angler’s true skill when fighting these fish in close quarters.

I started the day with a Damiki 1/4oz Short Strike Spinnerbait in white shad and rigged that with a Damiki 4” ripper as a trailer the Ripper gives the bait some more length and really works for you on the drop, spiraling down into the deep. Spinnerbaits proved deadly throughout the day and accounted for the majority of fish using a number of different plastic trailers.

Fishing a Spinnerbait in these rivers is the perfect option in my opinion as it allows all depths to be covered and is virtually snag resistant. It can be run through thick cover without fouling up and the flash and vibration will have the Sooties fighting each other to get to it first. On one occasion this trip I fired a long cast down the middle of the river and I could see the black shadows come racing out from the snags along the bank to come out and smash the Spinnerbait. Kyle had caught a couple of Sooties on the Axe Serpent and we both decided to mix it up with some different lures.

The next lure Kyle picked out was a Pontoon 21 44mm Greedy Guts in green tiger prawn. It has tiny Owner trebles and we were both wondering how it was going to hold up against these big black Bream of the north. It didn’t take long before Kyle was on and the little Owner trebles did the job no worries! We released another nice Sooty and watched it swim off back to its snag to sulk.

The river was looking great it was flowing just the right amount and the water level was nice and high the Sooties were definitely playing the game for us. There were fish in most of the pools we came across and they were in great condition and good size for a river Sooty. Kyle brought out the Fish Arrow Best Popper for some surface action and I happily put my rod down for a while and watched a big sooty come up and smash the popper off the top. After a few quick photos another Sooty was released back into the river. It was time for yet another lure change so I brought out the Pontoon 21 Bully Boo. The jointed body on this lure gives it a unique action and the Sooties definitely gave it the tick of approval. A slow constant retrieve past structure was all that was needed to entice the Sooties to come out and play.