Fishing in Western Cape

The Western Cape provides almost all the types of fishing available in South Africa, often in exotic localities with exciting backgrounds.
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About Western Cape

The Western Cape is probably the best known province in South Africa, and the most popular with tourists. However, while international tourism is flourishing due to natural beauty, “Big Five Reserves”, and famous locations such as the Table Mountain and the Cape Town, the fishing potential of the province is little known and less exploited. The infrastructure is among the best in Africa with an International airport that has many direct flights to global travel hubs and an excellent road network. There are many outfits running safaris and trips with friendly, knowledgeable, English speaking guides. There is excellent accommodation, to suit any taste or pocket, from Five Star luxury hotels in Cape Town to Seven Star, secluded lodges in “Big Five” Game Reserves, to rustic camping. The weather is fairly benign throughout the year, the winters not too cold and the summers very pleasant. Many international visitors hire vehicles to travel around the province and make the most of all the opportunities. The inland areas are generally dry and the fishing is mostly limited to the coast, which is about 900 kilometers (550 miles) long, offshore and the mountain ranges inland of the southern and south western shore.

Fishing Types

Shore fishing, primarily for sharks and rays, is best on the south coast around places like Struisbaai and small boats may be chartered to fish for “snoek” (Thyristes atun), an aggressive and strong fighting predator found in the region. Fishing for crayfish, rock lobster or abalone is popular along much of the shore while spearfishing can also be excellent. Most types of fishing may be undertaken successfully throughout the year, but the species of game fish being targeted changes through the seasons, and sometimes from day to day, making local knowledge critically important.

Targeted Fish Species

Many kinds of fishing, to suit almost all tastes, are available in the Western Cape. The south and south west of the province provide most of the fishing. Big game marine charters at localities such as Cape Town, Knysna, Langebaan, Struisbaai and Mossel Bay target species including yellowfin and longfin tuna, four species of marlin, dolphin fish (dorado) and broadbill swordfish. There is excellent fishing for brown and rainbow trout in many higher altitude localities in mountain streams, rivers and dams. At lower levels, anglers can target largemouth and striped bass, carp and indigenous species in the larger rivers and dams.

Fishing Techniques

A large number of marine charter outfitters help anglers target many species of offshore gamefish. They can supply the vessel, equipment, knowledge, advice and encouragement to successfully find, hook, play and land your preferred target species. While some species may be caught at most times of the year using “normal” equipment and techniques, there are operators who specialise in exciting trophy species such as blue marlin and swordfish. Although surroundings change around the world, trout fishing techniques and equipment usually remain similar. In South Africa only fly fishing is permitted and, in the Western Cape, there are many excellent destinations within reasonable driving distance of Cape Town including some a little further afield that are well worth trying. Similarly, fishing for bass and carp is comparable to the best you can find in Europe or America, but fishing in exotic surroundings adds an exciting new element to your experience.