How to catch Sooty Grunters!
Tips from Townsville local, Vinnie Versfeld
Sooty Grunters are freshwater fish that are mainly found in the northern parts of Australia. Hidden in the shallows of tropical rivers and often under the cover of hanging trees, they hit hard and are great entertainment for anglers.
Vinnie Versfeld has fished all over the world but has lived in Townsville for 14 years as a passionate angler, guide, and social media personality. We sat down with this fishing extraordinaire to get the inside tips on catching Sooty Grunter!
Where To Find Sooties
"Sooty Grunter are a super fun sportfish found in the freshwaters from just north of Brisbane to around the top end to Broome. We chase them throughout the year, with winter being a favourite since the weather is a little more pleasant for wading and backpacking for them. We fish for them in a variety of rivers and creeks, and the locations change depending on the water level throughout the season."
Tackle Box Essentials
"Even though Sooty Grunters are formidable fighters they are super fun on light tackle, light spinning gear running 4-8lb braid and 10-15lb fluorocarbon leaders or 3-5wt fly outfits are enough to subdue them and have fun doing so. My favourite lures are Zman 3" Minnows fished unweighted and near the surface. My choice of fly's whilst fly fishing for them is dry and surface flies."
"In order to sight-fish, you need a really good pair of sunnies that suit your environment. For freshwater and tidal waters, I use Spotters Halide lens which goes lighter or darker and is perfect for the shallows. For bluewater, I use Spotters Nexus and Ice Blue lens."
Catching Sooty Grunter
"When wading, we always attempt to fish upstream for them. This way we can approach from downstream with the fish facing away from us and we're less likely to spook them. You can present your lure/fly in a natural manner and fish it with the current flow into the fish."
Sharing The Chase
"For us, chasing Sooties is a family affair. Sooties live in an amazingly beautiful country and I am lucky I get to share it with my wife Cassie and our little one Halley. These fish have created some of our most memorable family moments."
Spotters of Choice
"For me, the Cristo frame has the perfect wrap-around fit. The tight wrap eliminates incoming glare and the slim arms are so comfortable even when worn with a cap!"