Big game fishing in South Africa has gained popularity over the years. The warm currents from the Indian Ocean and the cold currents from the Atlantic Ocean merges here to create an optimal environment for fish of many species to breed and thrive. These waters are rich in planktons that in turn feed schools of Anchovies, Pilchard and Mackerel. These bait fish attract the big boys into these waters and thus makes South African coasts a fisherman’s paradise. The top game fish that you will find here are:
The Yellowfin Tuna tops the list. They are known for their strength and speed when fought with a rod and reel. They can grow up to weights of 180 kg and give you a great fight before you can boat them. These Yellowfins can be located 25 to 40 miles from offshore, usually around undersea canyon or other structures. Their season in South Africa starts in October and ends in late June. However, lucky anglers have found them all through the year. This glistening dark blue and silver hued fish has indeed earned the reputation of the trophy fish that every angler dreams of catching.
The second on the list is the Marlin. Marlin fishing is considered to be the greatest of sportfishing by many anglers. The elusiveness, speed and sizes of Marlins make them the perfect fish for game fishing. You will find more numbers of Marlin in the East Coast of South Africa. If you are planning a fishing trip for the Marlins then you should know that their season runs long throughout the summer extending from October to April. Experienced anglers and captains however say that the best time to catch a Marlin is from November to March.
Albacore (Longfin) Tuna
The Longfin Tuna (Albacore) is the next on the list. These fish are equally great fighters as the Yellowfins and are caught in the same way. They can grow upto 140 cms and can weigh to an extend of 45 kg. The Longfin Tuna come in big shoals and unlike the Yellowfin rise to the chum that is thrown in the water. You can thus easily watch them take the bait and even trigger a big fight by jigging for them.
The Big eye Tuna as the name suggests has a big head and big eyes. They can grow up to 250 cms in length and can weigh up to 180 kg. These large fish hold the fourth position in the list. If you are looking to catch a Big Eye Tuna then the fishing method that you will have to use are deep trolling with squid or other small fish. You can also try artificial lures and live baits. These fish tend to swim in the deeper waters and hence locating them can turn out to be a task if you are not accompanied by experienced anglers.
The next fish to catch a place in the list is the Dorado, commonly called Mahi Mahi. These are great fighters, they jump and leap and make you sweat before you can boat them. These are surface dwellers and are targeted by anglers throughout the fishing season. The Dorado are found all through the summer months from November to May. These fast and acrobatic fish can reach up to weights of 40 kg. The most common technique used to fish for the dorados is trolling. If you want to catch a glimpse of these vividly colored fish, you have to look for floating structures like sargasso, shipwrecks and the like.
Next on the list is the swift Wahoo. These fish that can reach lengths of 250 cms and weights ranging up to 83 kg are found in the warmer waters close to the inshore. They are noted for their strength and swiftness. When you hook on to a Wahoo it is sure to accelerate and pull hard for a run that will definitely end in a fight of the might. Found abundantly over the east coast of South Africa, these fish prey on the smaller fish like small tuna, anchovy and squids.
The seventh on the list is the Greater Amberjack. In South Africa, they are found along the south west coast. In inshore you will be able to catch one of these fish in waters that are not deeper than 30 feet. The fish found here will weigh from 3 to 7 kg. Offshore, the Greater Amberjacks are found in waters that range from 60 to 240 feet in depth and the fish found here will weigh to an average 27 kg. You will able to spot them near wrecks and rocky reefs. These jacks are characterized with a massive body of amber colour with lighter undertones on the belly.
These wonderful fighter fish are found from KwaZulu-Natal, the south coast and northwards along the eastern coast of South Africa. The large Queenfish prefer the warmer waters near the coast that are 12 to 25 meters deep. The best time to catch the Queenfish is during the summer season when the ocean is warmer. These fish are active during the dawn and dusk as they feed on crepuscular fish. You will need great patience to hook a Queenfish as they can miss your hook multiple times. And once hooked they will not fail to run and exhibit aerial acrobatics that can result in a long time before you are able to boat your fish.
The Giant Yellowtail comes up on the ninth position in the list. These fish with bright yellow hued tails are found in plenty offshore the Cape Town which has the cold Atlantic waters. During the sardine run (between May and July), the Yellowtail migrates to the eastern coast of South Africa.
These Yellowtails feed on squid and are often found in depth of 110 m offshore in large shoals. The best time to catch a Yellowfin is between May to November, they are good fighters and one of the most sought after game fish in South Africa.
Couta (King Mackerel)
The King Mackerel, commonly called the Couta is one of the most abundant saltwater game fish in the east coast of South Africa. They are usually spotted close to the shore unlike the other species. They are known for their great speeds and hence are one of the favorite among the sport fish. Couta can grow up to weights of 40 kg. They are blue-grey in color and many vertical bars are seen on their sides. These fish are usually targeted through trolling that uses live and dead baits.
So, now you know what you can expect in South Africa. Book your fishing trip to experience one of a kind fishing in the warm waters of South Africa.