Grunter bream are common species found all over the Queensland coast and have a few close cousins that are almost identical and these species are often mistaken for one and other and confused with yellow fin bream. Javelin fish, spotted grunter, barred grunter are few common names that grunter are called and all can look very similar to each other apart from a few different markings. Spotted javelin fish is more commonly encountered in northern water ways while the small spotted javelin fish or grunter bream is more commonly encountered around southeast Queensland. Both types of grunter have same body shape with only the markings putting them apart. Small spotted grunter have a large amount of small spots over there back with a yellow tinge on the anal fin, ventral fin and on the bottom of their tail while the Javelin fish have a silver completion with dotted stripes along the back which run down the side of the fish. The second difference between the species apart from there looks are size limits Grunter bream/small spotted grunter have a minimum of 30cm while the Barred Javelin fish/ spotted grunter have a minimum of 40cm. When targeting Grunter or javelin fish be sure to have a accurate up to date guide so you tell the difference to avoid hefty fines.
Both fish are very similar when it comes feeding eating patterns engulfing small fish and crustaceans. Grunter bream don’t shy away from hard body lures or soft plastics either and will aggressively attack any lure that takes their fancy. Javelin and grunter prefer to inhabit the upper reaches of rivers and creeks that have plenty of rocky out crops and deep water were the water quality is more turbid and brackish. Due to their powerful tails and spear head like shape grunter will put up a good fight making long runs and when captured will emit a large grunting noise hence giving it the name grunter bream. Javelin can grow considerably bigger than its small cousins with fish commonly caught around 45cm mark while Grunter bream averaging around 35cm. Both species have fantastic table qualities making them a desirable catch more many anglers.
Grunter bream a predominantly bottom feeders, when chasing them you want to be sure your bait is on the bottom so you will need to vary your weights according to the conditions of the day. Bait keeper hooks preferably with a long shank in sizes between 6 and 2/0 are ideal. Grunter bream and javelin fish will often pick at the bait so having keeper barbs on the hook will result in the fish taking the bait whole when its unable to pick your hook clean. Line weight recommended would be from 10lb onwards with Javelin fish able to grow well above the average of 45cm and will quickly bust the line if your drag is to tight or if the lines to light. You can use a variety of baits such as nippers, prawns, worms, herring, pilchards, mullet strips, squid and even chicken gut but the best tip is to use a bait that suite your fishing spot. If your fishing out the flats then nippers and worms would be the go, while if you were a rocky ledge near mangrove then mullet strips, herring or prawns would be ideal. When lure fishing grunter and javelin they will often target different lures on different days so the best thing you can do is use a variety of lures that put out a good vibration and scent into murky water and make sure your lures gets down to the bottom and into their strike zone.
The publisher company Great Out Doors has for years released the ever popular Tide Guide and Anglers Almanac which have been a essential part of most anglers tackle boxes for years and years. The latest Tide guide has just tides with the fish species identification charts being transferred to the Almanac. The Almanac has all the moon phases, predicted best times to fish, fish identification charts and a load of other handy tips and tricks when it comes to fishing. These books are a must have and if you haven’t already got one be sure to ask about them the next time you are in the local tackle store.
Peter Coulson with a nice grunter bream that took a gulp soft plastic lure as it was being twitch along the bottom.
Vadim Mirmilstein caught this quality grunter bream while fishing with Anglers Advantage on the Maroochy River.
The Anglers Almanac and Tide Guide are a must have for any angler.