Fishing in South Africa

Imagine catching African tiger fish among the elephants, beautiful river trout in mountain streams, or the marlin of a lifetime in a deep blue ocean - all in one country. This is South Africa.
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About South Africa

From the balmy tropical Indian Ocean to the frigid, violent Atlantic and from crystal clear mountain streams to large coastal lakes, South Africa is unparalleled in offering diverse fishing opportunities. A truly African country with iconic wildlife, massive open plains and spectacular Game Reserves, it also contains an incredible array of fishing destinations, including new areas with naive fish recently opened by the government to sports anglers. Fishing trips range from calm, organised and “civilised” to extreme safaris into areas where you can find amazing fish, but will have to keep an eagle eye open for lions and elephants. Local knowledge is essential, not just to catch the best fish, but also for a safe, relaxing and successful fishing experience. Fortunately, South Africa is blessed with guides who can ensure that your visit will be so good that it will be the first of many. With excellent infrastructure, well-managed resorts, and some of the most sought after sport fish species, South Africa is a “must visit” country for all fishing enthusiasts.

Fishing Types

Virtually all major types of fishing can be carried out in South Africa waters. Offshore fishing is currently probably the best known with Sodwana Bay, the busiest launch site in the southern hemisphere, offering charter and private trips to target all the top game fish species. Shore fishing along the whole 2 800 kilometer (1 740 mile) coastline can be excellent and carried out from pristine looking tropical beaches right through to rugged wave battered cliffs. River fishing is also incredibly diverse with opportunities ranging from chasing trout in ice cold mountain streams to fighting mighty tiger fish among hippo and crocodiles. On lakes created with the help of dams you can find excellent bass fishing or the more “genteel” option of sitting in boats as you try to outwit wily trout.

Targeted Fish Species

South Africa offers an extremely wide variety of fish, depending on where you are fishing. In the tropical marine environment there are excellent blue, striped and black marlin plus sailfish, groupers, tunas, dorado (mahi mahi), giant kingfishes and jacks, wahoo and many others. From the adjacent beaches anglers target bull, raggedtooth and other sharks as well as a huge diversity of other species. In cooler marine areas there are swordfish and tunas offshore plus many sharks, rays and coastal fish. Inland there are brown and rainbow trout hatcheries supplying well managed and developed fisheries in dams and rivers. In the warmer areas of these rivers several species of “yellowfish” now support growing fly fishing operations, including several targeting the spectacular largemouth yellowfish that can exceed 20 kilograms (44 lbs). All three bass species are present and, in the northern areas, the African tiger fish provides excellent and exciting sport. The oceans off South Africa contain around 1 000.marine species while the freshwater is home to over 150 indigenous species.

Fishing Techniques

In South Africa it is possible to practice almost all fishing techniques from simply walking onto shores of rivers and dams and casting a line to hiring top of the range operators and head offshore to seek the mighty blue marlin or bluefin tuna. In the ocean, traditional bait fishing has broadened and now includes many artificial lures and, more recently, saltwater flyfishing. The tackle can vary from light, for fun bait fish fishing or small river trout, to extremely heavy for the blue marlin that you cannot afford to lose. Traditional fly fishing fly fishing for trout in rivers and dams does not lose popularity, but more and more anglers now target exciting indigenous species as well. African tiger fish are caught on bait, lure or fly depending on the conditions and preferences of the sport angler. Whatever your favorite fishing technique, South Africa can provide excellent and exciting opportunities.