Javelin Grunter

Javelin grunter is a bottom living fish found in the shallow coastal waters of much of the southern hemisphere, and important for recreational fishing.
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Where and When?

Javelin grunter are a fish of the Indian Ocean and western Pacific Ocean. They are found from the Red Sea southwards to South Africa and eastwards to Taiwan and eastern Australia. They are regionally important in commercial and small- scale fisheries in places such as around India and the Persian Gulf and are caught in trawls, traps or by longlines. Recreational fishing is concentrated around Australia and eastern South Africa. They are a species of mostly turbid and muddy shallow waters and most recreational fishing is carried out in estuaries. They range in depth from very shallow water down to about 75 m. (246 ft.) and are also found around rocks and reefs, as well as near wrecks. They can be caught throughout the year but, in Australia, most fishing is carried out in November to April, the summer months. Javelin grunter feed throughout the day and night and, in suitable places, night fishing can work well. Most recreational fishing is, however, carried out in daylight.

About Javelin Grunter

The javelin grunter (Pomadasys kaakan) is a typical “grunter” - that is, it usually emits a distinctive “grunting” noise when handled. It also has a typical grunter shape with its “forehead” progressively sloping down to the smallish, toothless mouth on the underside of the very front of its head. They are silvery or golden on the back and lighter on the belly with fairly large scales along the body. Their anterior dorsal fin is armed with sharp spines and the rear of the operculum (gill cover) is also sharp. They can grow to 80 cm. (31.5 in.) and 6 kg. (13 lbs.), but are usually caught up to 50 cm. (20 in.) and 4 kg. ( 9 lbs.) Javelin grunters eat mostly benthic invertebrates such as crustaceans and worms, but also take small fish. They are usually an estuarine or inshore fish and undergo seasonal migrations to spawn. Estuarine javelin grunter congregate in shoals at river mouths and then pair off to spawn.

How to Catch?

Most fishing for javelin grunter is done from small boats or from the shores of estuaries. In Australia there are many local charter boats which operate both in estuaries or inshore waters and they can provide excellent knowledge and equipment. They are a very popular species in some areas, described as “easy and fun to catch”, often present in reasonable numbers, and good-tasting. While they do not grow very large, they are an excellent fish for new anglers and can be caught on baits or artificial lures, including fly fishing. Light tackle is preferred as javelin grunter do not have teeth and rarely head for cover when hooked. They usually live and feed close to the substrate but, as they usually live in shallow water with sandy or muddy bottoms, most angling methods can be employed. Simple “traditional” natural bait fishing works well but spinning with plastics and fly fishing can be more exciting and rewarding in clearer water areas. Casting from small boats in estuaries is popular in some parts of Australia. Javelin grunters are not always targeted due to the presence of other priority species, but they can often provide fairly consistent and good fishing that results in an excellent meal for the family.